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By Mary Z. McGrath, Ph.D.
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
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
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.