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The 3 Be’s

It’s exhausting. It’s sad. It’s aggravating.

It’s caregiving.

To help you gain control over a situation that seems so out-of-control, consider The Three Be’s of Caregiving: Be Prepared, Be Honest and Be Well.

Be Prepared:

Once a family member needs intense care, time is spent managing one moment to the next. It’s hard to carve out the time needed to really explore and research care options: Health care facilities, physicians, specialists, attorneys, financial planners, care managers, community programs and services. Gather information early on and as soon as possible, so that you have options and choices available when needed.

To stay on track, ask yourself:

–What does the future hold for your care recipient? What will his or her care needs be? What community services are available to provided the needed care? If in-home will not meet the care needs, which housing options (assisted living facilities, nursing homes) will?

–What can your care recipient afford in terms of care? If budget restrictions are a concern, what other community programs or services (or state or federal) programs can offset the cost of care?

–What information or training do you need to be a qualified, effective caregiver? Where can you gather the information or learn the caregiving techniques?

Be Honest:

You may find yourself in a position you want to be everything to everyone: Supportive spouse, nurturing parent, devoted caregiver, responsible employee, dependable friend, valuable volunteer. Trying to do it all means you get lost in the shuffle–something has to give. Caregiving will eat up more time and energy than you can ever imagine. In order to manage the experience, it’s important to be honest about how much you can handle and for how long and then fill those voids with community programs, family help, health care providers. It’s essential to set realistic limits on your abilities, respect your boundaries and welcome the best help possible.

To find your limits and boundaries, ask yourself:

–What are your limits as a caregiver? Can family members, friends or community services fill those voids? If not, what other options are available?

–How long can you afford (emotionally, financially, physically) to provide care in your home or in your care recipient’s home?

Be Well:

Caregiving, which can be a long-term commitment, will take its toll. It’s sad to watch a once-vibrant family member struggle to perform basic daily activities. Maintaining a semblance of yourself outside your role, even if only for a few moments each day, and enjoying a true support system (one which honors your role, rather than one that questions it) helps you stay well. In all that you do, one priority stays constant: Your own health.

Consider:

–What interests and hobbies are important to you? How can you maintain these?

–How can you integrate a fitness program into your routine?

–How can you maintain a regular support system?

–How can you release all those negative emotions of caregiving in a healthy way?

–How can you better express your feelings and your beliefs so that family members and friends understand your goals as a family caregiver?

–In what areas do you need help? How can you get the help you need?

–In what ways can you bring joy and laughter into your life (and your care recipient’s) on a regular basis?

6 comments

  1. The three B’s is a great bit of advice, my faveorite of which is Be Prepared. For me, being prepared means not having to spend my precious free moments worrying about aht’s coming next.

  2. Like the be honest Denise. Be honest with others about how I feel about cargiving, about some of the situations I have dealt with and am dealing with now. Honesty, although it can be difficult for the individual I am sharing with, is important and in many ways lifesaving to me. Non-caregivers whether family, friends or just someone you meet in the store, don’t really know or want to know the honest truths we deal with everyday, but they need to be told, at lest for us they do.

  3. i agree with donna 100%. people who are not dealing with this dont understand…
    I see that with my sister now that Im away with Mom. My sister sees how hard this can be but I think in a small way she is glad Mom is coming back home with me….when it is far away it is just a story but in front of you it is reality…mom is getting older, mom can no longer do the things she once did. its eye opening but honest. They really dont want to know however…it is easier to remember things the way they were for some people I suppose.

  4. Avatar of

    I have seen experienced, and wanting to learn more and more everyday , I work and volunteer in Nursing Home as well taken care of a loved one. I couldn’t agree more than with the “three B’s” thanks so much for this website and my first friend Denise.

  5. Avatar of Bob

    The 3 B’s are very powerful for me as they help me what I need to do to keep myself well while I help my caree. Ineed to work on them. Thanks so much Denise.

  6. Avatar of

    I’m so new at this. Well, I’m working on trying to Be prepared but Dad thinks everything can wait. I tell him I would like to get as many things taken care of as possible (what are your wishes Dad? Etc), and as much information gathered, so I know what my (our) resources are since I do work full time outside the home to support me and my child. He knocks me for “worrying” too much, is what he calls it. Do you think taking care of business is worrying? Does this mean I should just let things happen and then stress out when they do because I’m not prepared? It sure would be nice to have my Dad supporting my efforts rather than sabotaging them by not partaking by providing his much needed input. His attitude about my pro-activeness is demotivating. I came into this ready to get things organized and done, as much as possible so we can enjoy what little time we do have together. I thought my Dad would be impressed by my resourcefulness and desire to help. Why does he think all my actions are unnecessary? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get my Dad on board?

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