Jump to content

Caregiver Burnout (Key Point 2)

Recommended Posts

Caregiving can be a source of joy as well as guilt and resentment for families. Learning to talk to each other openly and to listen without judgment is key to achieving shared goals.

Caregivers often find themselves going it alone, even if there are other family members that can help. Geography may play a role as people become more mobile, but even out-of-towners can pitch in if they are willing and if you have a plan so they can understand the scope of their responsibilities.

If you are the primary caregiver, don't fall into the trap of expecting family members to just step in. They may be unaware of what is needed and what your life is like.

The ideal is to have family meetings with a healthcare professional present, such as a social worker or care manager. They can lay out all your options with their pros and cons, help you define clear-cut roles for each family member and support you in building consensus.

Some of these questions may help start the dialog:

What are your loved one's wishes?

What help do you need now and what are you likely to need in the future?

What medical, legal and financial decisions will need to be made and who will make them?

Who should have power of attorney and/or be named as the healthcare proxy?

Who will serve as the primary coordinator or caregiver?

How much time will it take for the primary caregiver to coordinate everybody's efforts?

What contingency plans need to be put in place in case the primary caregiver can no longer function as such?

How much are you willing to spend for paid care?

Who will pay for what?

How can you achieve a relatively equitable division of labor?

Under what circumstances should you consider a skilled nursing facility?

Tasks can be divided by time, money and talent. It is a good idea to put it all in writing. Also, caregiving responsibilities will vary from day to day, week to week. Ask family members to be flexible when you need backup. Don't overlook doing simples tasks, such as providing companionship to the care receiver.

How do you get help from reluctant family members? Ask for it in very precise terms. If they refuse a task, give them a list of tasks and ask them to pick. Give them the option of doing them or paying to have them done. The trick is in not allowing yourself to become emotional or to be diverted from your goal. Know going in that the strategy may not work. If that is the case, you may need to move on.

Caregiving can cause family friction, but it can also bring out the best in people. You can smooth the way by:

Continuing to let family member's know their help is wanted and needed

Understanding each family member's coping style

Making sure everyone's opinions are heard and respected

Expressing appreciation to each other

Being realistic about each individual's abilities and limitations

Keeping everyone informed about changes in your loved one's condition

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.