Care for the elderly in home can be overwhelming. To avoid elder care stress it is important to help get organized and plan for the unplanned events in life. Taking a proactive approach with the aging adults in your life. This will save you time, energy, money and avoidable stress. Avoidable stress being the definitive words. Caregiving will always be stressful. You should always seize every opportunity to lessen it.
It is always best to attempt to plan for the unplanned emergency. This can be accomplished by getting all paperwork and legal papers in order . It is best to do this while the aging adult in your life is still well. Of course, it’s not always possible.
Many families are unable to have the necessary discussions. Many are in denial, insisting that everything will be fine. Then, one day, a phone call comes in. It’s the local hospital, your aging loved one is in the emergency room and everything changes.
There is a rush to the hospital, followed by many questions that you are unable to answer. While your aging loved one is in the hospital, you may find yourself looking for important papers. You may need to find their medications. Later, you find yourself doing other things like paying the bills and shopping. You may even have to make serious life altering decisions. This occurs under duress. These were subjects that were avoided and not discussed.
This is an everyday occurrence in every hospital in the country.
Families are faced with the stress of making decisions they are unprepared to make. Provide information they must research.
There is the...
- “to do” list,
- the appointment list
- names and numbers of healthcare providers
- coordinating your own schedule
- your family's schedule
- exploring resources
Caregiving can be overwhelming and can cause an incredible amount of unnecessary stress. Let us show you how:
WHAT TO DO
The key to survival is planning and organization.
Planning is important to everyone as we age. We all want to maintain control, independence and our dignity as we grow older. Be proactive. Discussing the important issues with our loved ones is necessary. Advanced planning for end of life wishes gives your family member control. This is important when they can no longer speak for themselves.
Organization is important. There are so many aspects of our lives that we take for granted. But when you care for the elderly at home, it is important to have things in one place. Having information easily accessible makes life easier. It saves you, the caregiver undue stress.
If you are ready to get started right now, the first step is to start writing things down. Have a notebook and pen with you at all times. Naturally, stress causes distractions and you may tend to forget things. But keep at it.
At home, it will be important to get :
- Home maintenance
- Social information together and put in an easily accessible place.
Develop a system where all the names, addresses and phone numbers are in one spot. This is for ease and accessibility.
The medical information is important. Good record keeping can delay time wasted when treatment is necessary.
Good record keeping can also prevent another invasive or painful test being performed.
It is important to have the:
- Telephone number
- Specialty of each health care provider that cares for your aging loved one.
This may seem daunting. You will be surprised how relieved you will be when you have it done (don’t forget to reward yourself once in awhile).
Develop a master schedule.
This is to keep track of :
- When medications need to be reordered
- Appointments are scheduled
- When the trash it to go out are just a few suggestions
It sounds silly, but caregiving is intermittent, unpredictable and overwhelming at times. It is easy to get distracted and forget something.
Develop a file system. Sections for filing will be medical bills, legal papers, resources, and financial papers. Paperwork can pile up, so make a file for things that will need to be filed. Go to a Staples or Office Depot and get an accordion file, it’s a good start. When things get overwhelming, filing may be a task to delegate to another family member.
Keep a log of those that you talk with in regards to the care of your aging loved one.
A call log with:
- Name of the individual you spoke with,
- and even a brief snippet what the call was about
This is important in case something is missed or care is delayed.
Every single time you call an office or a business one the first questions to ask is “who am I speaking with?” Write down along with the date and time…can be helpful. Especially when things go wrong and that big office or business drops the ball.
Learn to make copies of:
- Medical bills
- Insurance claims
- anything that you are mailing out
- Legal documents.
Always have a backup plan in place. There may be an emergency come up. If the primary caregiver is suddenly ill, there must be an alternative plan in place for someone else to step in. Expect that life will have many unplanned events. Try and prepare for them.
Remember... avoid elder care stress by being prepared. Care for the elderly in home requires one to be very organized. It is important to ask questions. Make sure you understand the answers so that you can learn. This helps you plan and be organized for those unplanned life events.