Your Caregiving Mission Statement: Shaping your Caregiving Experience
By Denise M. Brown
Fate may have brought you to this place, this caregiving role. Fate through a car accident, a sudden stroke or just your care recipient’s age-related frailties.
Fate may have waved her hand and tapped you to be the family caregiver. But, you can add some controls to your caregiving destiny—-with your own caregiving mission statement.
Your mission statement reflects your caregiving goals and your caregiving personality. Your mission statement will serve as a reminder of what you can and cannot do as a family caregiver, as well as what’s most important to you and to your caree.
In your mission statement, consider including the following:
–Your respite schedule.
For instance, your respite schedule may include breaks on Wednesday evenings, Sunday afternoons, one weekend every three months, two weeks annually. You’ll know best: What breaks do you need to stay on purpose with a healthy perspective?
–Your respite service plan.
In order to take regular breaks, you’ll use myriad help in various combinations, from family and friends, to community programs (volunteer respite programs, adult day centers) to various service providers (home health agencies, assisted living facilities, nursing homes).
–Your ongoing care goals.
Your mission statement also reflects your comfort level in continuing to provide care as your caree’s care needs increase.
–Your hopes as a family caregiver.
Consider: What are your barometers for success as a family caregiver?
–Your wishes for your caree.
You’ll want to include your thoughts about quality medical care and dignified interactions with health care professionals.
–Your caree’s wishes.
A helpful mission statement also includes your care recipient’s wishes about who he or she wants to receive care from (which family members, which friends), where care can be provided (in his or her home, your home, the nursing home) and how he or she would like to spend his or her last years, months and days. If your caree is unable to communicate these wishes to you, your knowledge of his or her past lifestyle and relationships will help you determine these issues.
Your mission statement is a work in progress. As you change, as your caree changes, as community services change, as your own immediate family changes, so shall your mission statement. Keep each version of your mission statement in your caregiving journal; you’ll enjoy reviewing and revisiting each one.
For more help in creating your mission statement, read The 3 Be’s of Caregiving.