You’re the Coach

This morning on Your Caregiving Journey, Holly, who cares for her husband who has frontotemporal dementia, joined me for Table Talk. She helped to answer the questions: How much do I push my caree? How do I know how much he or she can handle? (You can listen to our show, via the player below.)

Holly shared several suggestions, including eliminating a question when assigning tasks. Meaning, instead of asking her husband to help, she assigns the task to him. “I’d like you to…” becomes the request.

She also uses these questions when determining whether or not an activity or task may be too much:

  • Is he safe?
  • Is this too much?

We spoke about a process you can use when determining how much and for how long with your caree:

  1. Observe your caree during the task or outing;
  2. Assess how your caree did;
  3. Choose whether or not your caree needs a break; needs the outing or task to be modified; needs more assistance.

Your caree is on a different channel, Holly explained. So how do you tune in your caree’s channel? Be present—make decisions on how much and for how long during the moment. Then, make the adjustments necessary. Being flexible allows you to select a solution that’s right for that moment.

Holly also described herself as her husband’s coach. She gives him tasks and responsibilities, modifying and bringing in more help as necessary, because she feels better with his help. When he helps, she removes the bitterness about their situation and moves into feeling grateful for his help.

As his coach, Holly sees herself in the position of “pushing.” “We shouldn’t apologize for pushing,” she said.

I’d love to know your thoughts about being your caree’s coach. If you view your role as coach, how does your approach to caregiving change? Please share your thoughts in our comments section, below.

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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