Flex Across The Life Cycle
Advice From A Seasoned Caregiver …
Amy Goyer’s book “Juggling Work and Caregiving” is full of good advice about how to balance work and eldercare. Below is an excerpt about the importance of developing a team when caring for an aging loved one…
Team members can include a variety of people …
Whether they are family members, friends, volunteers, or paid professionals, make a list of everyone who is currently involved in your loved ones care, or who supports you so you can be a caregiver.
Consider the following options:
- Family members
- Neighbors: Your loved ones and yours
- Friends: Yours, the friends of the loved one you are caring for, or of other family members
- Members of faith communities
- Paid or volunteer services such as a house cleaner, handyman, companion, meal or grocery delivery, chore services
- Medical, health, social service or geriatric professionals
- Financial, legal and technology advisers
- Gatekeepers: People who regularly interact with your loved ones and who may be the first to notice a change or problem (people such as the mail carrier and yard worker)
Team members contribute in different ways …
Everyone will contribute at different levels and with different strengths.
They will likely fall into one of the following six roles:
- Big picture – Family members and care managers who keep an eye on and communicate the overall planning and status of things
- Single responsibility – Someone who is willing to coordinate one chunk of caregiving such as managing finances or a household task
- Ongoing – Paid or volunteer caregivers, neighbors, and friends who help with the everyday aspects of care
- Single task – Someone who is happier accomplishing a specific time-limited job with clear instructions
- Special projects – A team member who steps in for an emergency or one time circumstance
- Backup – Team members who are great at stepping in when plans go awry
Match team member roles with personalities and availability …
One team member may be more hands-on while another prefers tasks such as “dealing with finances and paperwork; conducting research; making phone calls; cleaning; organizing; running errands.” No matter what, keep the lines of communication running smoothly between team members. Amy includes practical suggestions for how to communicate productively as well as advice for what to do when things aren’t going so well.
Bottom line, “Your caregiving team is made up of people who have different relationships with the people you are caring for, all with lots of history and possible baggage.”
Caregiving can be challenging for you and for all team members. Luckily Amy’s book includes a number of suggestions for creating, managing, and navigating the ins and outs of this difficult time.
Did you know that ThirdPath has resources to help you at every life stage? Let us help you get support to think in new ways about your work and life responsibilities so you can find more joy in both.