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Power Caregiving

By Mary Z. McGrath, Ph.D.

(Page 3 of 6)

Consider creating a form in your computer using categories that fit for your loved one. For example, begin with a statement such as this: “Topics of Interest from the perspective of caregiver - THANK YOU!” Then list discussion topics under any of the following category headings that apply as follows:

Diet, Medical, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Social, Spiritual, Care Assistance, Psychological

Besides organizing papers with communication, organizing objects and spaces can be helpful. Keep daily items in a regular spot to add predictability to their lives. For example, place items such as keys and wallet in a box in the same spot. Organize drawers with items in the same part of the drawer. Place clocks, easy to read calendars and daily schedules in clear view. Review them regularly. Whether at home, a care center or hospital, your loved one can benefit from easy view of the time, date, day of the week (even noting a special holiday) and a daily schedule of events and expected visitors.

3.   Application of New Learning: When approaching hospital or long-term care
facility staff, you encounter terms used commonly by them. As you would in any new job, make an effort to learn the vocabulary associated with these environments. Study up on the disease or disability that challenges your loved one so that you can meet the personnel on their turf with effectiveness and confidence. Seek out Web sites, organizations and groups that hold the concentrated information that you need. Study this as if you were preparing for a graduate certification! Then you will be able to integrate the information into your one-on-one caregiving as well as your exchanges with professionals at a clinic or a skilled nursing facility care conference. The more you know, the more you will learn. Being in a posture of constant openness to new information every step of the way empowers you as a caregiver and accelerates the opportunities for support for your loved one as well.


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