Written by Jenn Black, Care Coordination Manager, Think Whole Person Healthcare
What is considered “caregiving”?
There are many kinds of caregivers. Physicians, nurses and care coordinators are all caregivers. There is a special kind of caregiver, too. Some caregivers care for their loved ones, and are typically children and spouses. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep reading.
At what point does a caregiver become a caregiver?
It’s a complicated thing to define. As your loved one ages, they have a harder time getting to the store or running an errand, and might reach out to you for help. Or, your loved one might have a chronic condition, and that typically means they’ll need help managing their healthcare.
As your loved one continues to age, your responsibilities likely increase. Somewhere along the line, you’ll likely become a caregiver.
How do caregivers support their loved ones while also maintaining boundaries?
Being a caregiver is a complicated role to fill. Often, you have your own responsibilities and even families to care for. You want to be there for everyone, but you don’t want to burn yourself out.
First, it is important to educate yourself on your loved one’s condition. This will help you be there for them, because you’ll know what they need. More importantly, however, you’ll learn if something they need is something you can’t do on your own (for example, lifting someone to help them use the restroom). Knowing your boundaries and asking for help will help eliminate stress when certain tasks become daunting.
It’s important that you respect the emotions of your loved one, but it’s just as important to recognize and verbalize your own emotions – and to expect understanding and compassion. Please don’t pretend that you can do everything and be everything for everyone! It’s not personal, just impossible!!
Where should caregivers go for help?
Think has an excellent Care Coordination program that eliminates most of your work coordinating, managing medications, and the back-and-forth with multiple doctors. It’s actually quite incredible. When you sign up for the program, you’re paired with a personal pharmacist, care coordinator, and if you’re not yet a patient at Think, your best-fitting physician and their nursing staff. These roles create a team who monitor, communicate, and plan around your loved one’s healthcare. Can you imagine that without Think, you’d be doing all that by yourself? It’s a great solution to manage your loved one’s health, and YOUR sanity. Think About It…and if you decide it could be the right fit for you and your family, then fill out this form to get more information and to get started.
There are other great resources available for caregivers. Family Caregiver Alliance, for example, has a wealth of knowledge that will answer your preliminary questions.