It might have come altogether without warning: an unexpected fall that resulted in a fractured hip and the requirement for Mom to have support and help to remain at home. Or, it may have been building up over time, such as through the incremental and slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease. No matter what the circumstances, you have now found yourself in the role of family caregiver, and perhaps are wondering specifically what that means and just how to navigate these uncharted waters.
To start with, take a deep breath, and a minute to acknowledge the selflessness of your choice. Caregiving is a noble and extremely rewarding undertaking, yet not without its challenges. A bit of 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 the manner in which you would both like each day to develop, creating a simple timeline to list out the daily activities and tasks which 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 set for afternoon activities: a film, reading, puzzles, nap, participating in a well-loved pastime or hobby, 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 might have a little downtime to yourself, and when you’ll need to provide some help.
This may also be an appropriate time to establish boundaries together – and also to consent to stick to them. Again, these will vary for each person as well as on different days, but determine what is essential to each of you: having a specific time each day for self-care and personal time, when friends and family will come to visit, whether or not you want to maintain a job outside of the home, etc.
As someone new to family caregiving, recognize that Atlanta Home Care Partners is always here to assist while you get accustomed to your caregiving role with the respite care needed to make certain you are able to take care of yourself, too – something that is important to both you and a senior loved one in your care. Reach out to us at 404-228-0103 for additional information on senior care in Atlanta and surrounding areas.