3 Challenges You Will Face As An Adult Caregiver Of A Loved One
With the state of aging baby boomers now becoming nearly a full blown medical crisis, the adult caregiver is now the norm in America. The ‘greatest generation’ doesn’t want long term in-patient care and their insurance carriers are in agreement. The cost of facilities that provide 24/7 medical care are too expensive for most to afford. Not to mention, the emotional state of those who are living at such facilities are poorer than those who are cared for at home.
Many Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 will have to face a decision in the next 5 to 10 years as to the long term care of a loved one, namely their parents. Thankfully, services abound in assisting families with the care of their loved ones when other obligations call. Most people in this age group have full-time jobs, careers and the responsibilities of families of their own to take care of.
For the adult caregiver, life before their new assignment didn’t stop. Managing the added responsibility of dealing with the medical needs of Mom or Dad can be a huge stressor on an already busy life. How do you prepare for such an influx of obligations in the face of the demands of life that already require so much?
Being An Adult Caregiver Requires Time Management
Adult caregivers are required to manage their schedules in a much more efficient manner than most. It might be hard to judge how much more of your time you’ll have to shuffle around to deal with all of the obligations you have, but start somewhere. It might mean the daily chores you have with family and home will have to be delegated to other family members and/or to outside sources.
A few tips to make time may include:
- Hiring a housecleaning service to help with upkeep
- Assigning older children more chores
- Relying more on your spouse for responsibilities with children
- Creating a schedule with your family so everyone knows what’s required
- Posting schedules with your family in an obvious place
Knowing what you need and when to do it is half the battle. Take the time to plan out what your days will look like now that it includes a loved one who needs your care.
Know What Help Is Available To You BEFORE You Start
There is care assistance available for some or all of your loved one’s needs, depending on what they have for health insurance or financial resources. Work with your loved one’s doctor to determine what will be needed for care and their insurance company to understand what they will cover for care expenses. It saves a lot of time and frustration to know from the start what you have to work with before you roll up your sleeves and get busy.
Visiting Nurses’ Association, Home Health Aides and other types of care providers are there to assist you; with things you can’t do and things you need help with. Don’t be afraid to utilize help. You’ll need it!
Communication Isn’t Just Key, It’s Everything In Caregiving
There will be many professionals and people involved in the overall care of your loved one. Family members, doctors, nurses and the people who help you day in and day out will need information from you, the adult caregiver, in order to do their jobs well and feel connected to your loved one.Unfortunately, for the primary adult caregiver, the onus falls on you to keep up with all the information and get it to the right people.
Timely and complete information makes all the difference in how well your loved one is cared for. Traditionally, this information is either delivered verbally or in written notes. Communication and care coordination with those you need to communicate with can be one of the most frustrating exercises being an adult caregiver, but there is a better way.
In many instances, you will not be available to deliver information to professionals who care for your loved one or even language barriers may exist with care professionals that hinder communication. How will you make sure everyone has all the information they need at the right time? How do you share some of this responsibility with your siblings and make sure everyone is updated and on the same page?
eCare Vault is a tool, developed with this conundrum in mind. Their cloud-based platform allows the adult caregiver to be able to communicate with every person involved in the care of their loved one simultaneously. Doctors and nurses can communicate care plans and provide information and instructions when care needs change. Care professionals can share information, write notes and receive instructions from family and medical providers. Siblings can divide up the responsibilities and be updated simultaneously with any new information on eCare Vault. The list of communication scenarios is endless. Best of all, it is a permanent, HIPAA-secure record of your loved one’s care, no matter where anyone is; local or even International.
Chances are, you will be involved with the care planning and coordination of a loved one in your lifetime. How well you will manage it all is up to you, but know that there are apps out there to help you communicate in 21st century style!