Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Do you have a safe place for important papers? Do family members know where to find them? Who is in charge of your affairs?

Preparing for the known and unknown is a topic that many are not interested in discussing. While taking care of my mother, the repeated lesson learned and one I share in my book: From The Lens Of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, the vital need to know the wishes of family under your care. It is also important to have a safe place where important documents and contact information are housed.

For me and mommy, it was the green medal box where all the important papers were stored. When she would call me to discuss the content of the green metal box, my anxiety level when from zero to one hundred! Life insurance policies, military papers(DD214), birth certificates and social security numbers. Further, having a healthcare directives cannot be over-stressed. Finally, please be clear who will be in charge. Note… If you are unable to make hard and sometimes painful decisions, you should Not be in charge! I get it, losing a loved-one will never be easy. The role of a caregiver is not always glamous, especially when the end of life is in view. I encourage you to consider the circumstances of your situation. If placing someone on palliative care, hospice care, or removing someone from life support is necessary; know that it demonstrates the ultimate display of a caregiver. I placed my mother in hospice care, the hardest decision of a lifetime, but also the right one. She smiled at us until the end. Being a nurse did not make the decision easier. My profession informed me to understand that life is an art and a science. We must concede that we live between the dots…birth…death. None of us will get out of here alive.