When caregiving becomes a job of only one person, the person often becomes stressed and overwhelmed with the responsibility. Luckily, this can be eased by the help of family and friends. However, the first step is acknowledging that you indeed need help, and it is okay to ask for it.
Caregiving cannot be a one-man-team job. Today, we’ll share tips that can help make senior care a team effort that is both relieving and productive.
How to Make Senior Care as a Team Effort
Indeed, handling senior care as a team effort is challenging. But knowing the right approach and having open communication can address many potential issues directly, and these are as follows:
1. Assign one primary advocate.
Even if our goal is to share the workload, there should still be a point person managing everything according to a caregiver, Gina Scianimanico.
Basing on my experience, it is imperative to have a primary advocate named for the senior. This person should be the one taking the lead on making decisions and gathering the family members to make important decisions. It is likely that this person is the one with the legal Power of Attorney.
She also shared that family members can also take turns in the responsibility of being the advocate if your family isn’t comfortable with only one person being in charge of making the decisions. This can be a useful compromise, she added.
2. Make sure and jot down your senior loved one’s needs.
To know how to best divide the responsibilities among the team, make sure that you jot down your loved one’s needs first, then, make a list of the responsibilities and what each entails. List the tasks that you do on a daily basis, those that can be done every few days, and those that you have to do every month or even a few times a year.
You can also seek a professional when doing this so as to get your list as accurate as possible. “Try consulting a Geriatric Care Manager to get a whole picture of your loved one’s condition”, says Sig Cohen of Tough Conversations.
Geriatric Care Managers does a holistic assessment of your loved one’s overall health status and then provides you with their recommendations on how to proceed, Cohen added.
3. Require regular communication.
Technology and modern ways of communicating give you a lot of options. It can be through a Facebook group, weekly meetings, or through group texts.
Whichever means you choose, it is important to be consistent. Exchange notes and discuss ways on how you could improve the care given to your loved one, and stay on the same page with the team.
For example, all should be knowledgeable if your loved one’s care needs to change or a team member’s capacity to contribute also changes. Communicating constantly will give you a better grasp of the situation and make the team effort work better.
4. Discuss what’s necessary with the entire team.
Discuss all you need to do with your team, and if possible, also include your loved one while meeting so you get their needs into account.
In the meeting, you can clarify and make a final list of all you need (your team may share things you might have left off for the first time). You can also get a feel of their commitment and the types of work different people are more comfortable with.
5. Share responsibilities.
Here we can now start dividing responsibilities from among senior care team members. Make sure that you take into account the people’s schedules, and their strengths and weaknesses as well. Rick Lauber, an Author, shares how he manages this step successfully with his siblings. He explained that they tried on different roles to get the job done in a timely manner and they took each other’s schedule into consideration as well.
By sharing the responsibility, we see our own strengths and weaknesses… some tasks were found out to be a better fit for some to continue to do such as the task being both mom and dad which further declined, Lauber added.
The initial division of labor should not be permanent. With this, you can gauge if the role is fit for the person you’ve assigned it to. Sometimes people overestimate things they can and later on find out that they can’t actually commit. This is just the start, so prepare for changes and be open to flexibility.
6. Schedule a quarterly evaluation.
In addition to having constant communication, it is also advisable that you set a day to go over things once every three months. Doing so will let you know if your loved one is getting the proper care they need and if they are satisfied with it. You will also know how everyone is doing, if they are overwhelmed with the responsibility or if there are certain changes that need to be agreed upon.
Constant check-up actually saves you the possibility of missing out vital information about your loved one’s care and how your caregiver feels. This will also help you avoid having stress build up for the person taking care of your loved one.
Making a senior care a team effort makes the job easier, although it requires more organization, at the end of the day; it saves one person from facing the inevitable burnout and fatigue that comes from being a full-time caregiver without any help.
Ask people today to join your senior care team and start making your loved one smile.