Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!
Topic: Managing the Caregiver Role with Spreadsheets
What is the definition of insanity? I was told it is doing the same thing and getting a different result. Many outcomes(good or bad) in the caregiving space can result from mismanaging of necessary chores and responsibilities in the caregiver role. There are ways to handle the day-to-day tasks to make a caregiver’s day manageable. Having a visual spreadsheet can help keep order and decrease the insanity train. It is necessary to coordinate the care of loved ones. Knowing what to expect helps your loved one’s anxiety and enables you to accomplish daily operations. You may ask what a visual spreadsheet looks like and what information would help to have it written down.
Spreadsheet Suggestion(not exhaustive)
Activities of daily living(ADL). Care of your loved one is the #1 priority as a caregiver. That is the activities of daily living. Some actions may require supervision, while others may be self-care. Remember, the tasks that your loved one can do for themselves, let them do. Personal care is sometimes very demeaning to someone who needs help, so help with personal care when required. Always keep safety top of mind.
Emotional support. What are things you can do to keep your loved one content? You are their companion, and talking to them…not down to them is essential. If able, encourage them to discuss their choices of hobbies and activities that bring them joy. Carve out time in the day to have fun and create. Fun and games break up the reality of dependence, especially for those who have been independent.
Medical Appointments/Phone Numbers. Keeping all health and medical appointments is a huge part of well-being in the caregiving space. Dates and times of all appointments should be visual. Reminders are key in planning ahead of time. Medication refill reminders should also be visible. When medications are at the 2-week mark, refills need to be ordered. Keeping a calendar next to the spreadsheet is also a helpful suggestion. Further, don’t forget to share with family members so all can be on the same page with your loved one care.
Household Requirements. Yes, the environment in the home must be clean and safe. Picking items off the floors in common areas and keeping the home safe is vital. We know meal planning and laundry are necessary; having set days for laundry and even meal planning can save time. Ensure you know what foods are acceptable and which must be avoided, especially for loved ones with chronic conditions.
As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, having a plan is sometimes half the battle. The care you provide to loved ones need not be stressful or chaotic. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns by visiting my website. Be safe! Be well!
Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.