Don’t do it alone

Don’t do it alone

29% of the U.S. population provides care for an elder or disabled adult during any given year, according to a 2009 study conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving. As the American population ages and the prevalence of dementia increases, the needs of care partners also increases. Successful care partners (care-recipients and givers) have a secret.  That secret is to build a team; they don’t try to do it alone.

Sometimes it’s tricky to figure out what support others can provide. Learning to say “yes” to help is a critical first step. Consider creating a list of activities you (either care-recipient or family caregiver) would benefit from help with.

Here are some areas to consider:

  • Arranging doctor/care provider appointments
  • Transportation to and from appointments
  • Medication management
  • Exercise/physical therapy
  • Bathing and showering
  • Gathering groceries, meal planning and meal preparation
  • Social interaction and companionship to reduce social isolation
  • Household maintenance/ organization/ house cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Pet care
  • Bill paying

Now consider the following list of people who may be able to help:

  • Family members, including children
  • Neighbors/Friends
  • Medical professionals
  • Clergy/Church members
  • Home care providers

Once you’ve identified activities and possible helpers, divide up caregiving responsibilities among the willing partners. Create a written list of people who help with various tasks, complete with contact information.  You may also find the services of a caregiver consultant helpful in identifying specific needs and resources.

The Carebook: A Workbook for Caregiver Peace of Mind, authored by Joyce Beedle, helps you provide other caregivers the information they need to help effectively. With day-to-day tips, highlights of life, medical information and more, this resource is a tremendous organizational tool for caregivers when care-recipients can’t communicate their own needs and preferences.

No one can do it all -all the time. Start building your team now.

By Rhonda Kay Leonard, M.S.W.: To find out more about United Homecare’s commitment to excellence, please visit homecarepartner.org or call 503-433-8079.