Strategically Plan Your Caregiving

With mountains of pills, multiple doctor appointments and a slew of daily activities it is hard to think beyond the minute or hour.  However if you as a caregiver are overwhelmed with the what goes on each day, you have to take  time to step back and see if what you are doing is being effective.  Often times just talking with someone knowledgeable can help put things in perspective.  Many times when families come to our doorstep, they are on the brink of exhaustion.  In fact, I had one man run in and tell me he had only a few minutes as he had left his wife  alone locked up  and had not had a break in her care for several years.  He was interested in respite, but what he needed was  a plan. Geriatric case management can help you review all your medical, physical, social, and family needs so that you can develop a plan of care not just a response to care. Some care agencies offer this as does ours, other case managers can be found listed under  geriatric case management.  These resources are valuable in that they often ask you  key questions in regards to care.  A sampling are below.
  •  What  care can I expect over time that I will be required to provide?
  •  What resources in the continuum of long term care  are available and who pays for the services?
  •  Who is reputable to provide those services
  •  What medical specialists have I located to coordinate the care of my loved one? Is one in charge?
  •  Are my medications organized? Do I know drug interactions? 
  •  How is care affecting the family relationships?
  •  Is my loved one getting only care from me?  How do I ensure our Quality of Life?
  •  Do I need help in understanding their cognitive needs especially if they have Alzheimer’s?
  •  What resource materials are available to help me?
  •  Do I have Advanced Directives and other instruments organized?
These are  a few of the many questions that a geriatric care manager can help you explore strategically.  By taking time to step back, you are ready to go forward armed with information to help you and your loved one.  Strategy is nothing more than seeing what lies ahead, recognizing what is lying beneath and developing a plan  of attack so that your efforts can be successful.  Remember there are only 24 hours in a day, so how we care matters.  Take time and invest in a care partner to help you.

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