It may have come completely out of the blue: an unexpected fall that led to a fractured hip and the need for Mom to have help and support to remain at home. Or, it may have been building up over time, such as through the slow and incremental progression of dementia. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ve now found yourself in the role of family caregiver, and perhaps are wondering exactly what that means and how to navigate these new waters.
First of all, take a deep breath, and a moment to appreciate the selflessness of your decision. Caregiving is a noble and incredibly rewarding endeavor, yet not without its challenges. A little proactive planning will go a long way towards a smoother transition to care, both for yourself and your loved one. A good starting point is to think through how you would both like each day to look, creating a simple timeline to list out the daily tasks and activities that will need your attention. For example:
- 7 a.m.: Help Mom get out of bed, showered, dressed, and ready for the day
- 8 a.m.: Make breakfast and clean up
- 9 a.m.: Take Mom to physical therapy and/or exercise class
- 11 a.m.: Run errands with (or for) Mom
- 1 p.m.: Prepare lunch and clean up
- 2 p.m.: Help Mom get settled in for afternoon activities: a movie, nap, reading, puzzles, engaging in a favorite hobby or pastime, etc.
- 6 p.m.: Make dinner and clean up
- 8 p.m.: Help Mom with bedtime tasks – a bath, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.
- 10 p.m.: Help Mom get into bed
Your list will look different for each day, of course, but this provides a helpful outline to let you know when you may have a little downtime to yourself, and when you’ll need to provide hands-on help.
This is also a good time to establish boundaries together – and to agree to stick to them. Again, these will vary for each person and on different days, but decide what is important to each of you: having a designated time each day for self-care and personal time when family and friends may come to visit, whether or not you want to maintain a job outside of the home, etc.
Know that as the leader in home health care in Deerfield Beach and the surrounding area, Responsive Home Care is always available with the backup care needed to ensure you are able to take care of yourself, too – something that is extremely important in your role as family caregiver. Call us at (954) 486-6440 or visit our Caregiving Resources to find out more.