Sometimes roles reverse and you didn’t even notice. It’s the little things you do that make a difference in someone’s life. One thing I started to notice as I was going along is that I was a caregiver and didn’t even know it in the beginning. It really started long before I knew about the concept of “caregiving”.
Actually, during winter break of my senior year of college, my Dad got sick and went into kidney failure but he was strong and once he came home from the hospital he got back into a routine. I went back to to finish out my last semester. Thank goodness because it was time to take over the world with my new degree! Once I came back home it was a new normal. My Dad would go to work and go to his treatments and that’s how it was. Little did I know that my role would become more important as time went on. He noticed that his work schedule became more grueling along with the treatments and decided to retire. However, he’d still did what he normally did on his own.
I noticed that while he wasn’t sick sick or appeared to be sick, he moved slower and needed more assistance. He still drove but navigating in and out of the car was becoming more of a challenge and I would accompany him on doctor’s appointments when he normally would go on his own. After some time, I noticed that some of the bills were getting paid late and that was because it was beginning to get more cumbersome for him to do it. But if you asked him if everything was ok, he’d say yeah I’m ok. Pride held him back from asking for help. He had to go to the hospital for something so I helped out while he had a stay. It was then I found out that things were not in the best order and I helped set things back on track. After awhile, I just did it. This is what I mean by it just creeps up on you. You just end up doing it and it becomes an activity that you do regularly. My question to you is, have you started doing any of these things?
Helping to clean your parents home?
Helping them fill out paperwork?
Taking them shopping or going shopping for them?
Do you help your parents prepare meals?
Have you noticed that their bills are paid on time?
Have you been assisting with their finances or taking care of stuff at home? Yes or No
Well…… I’ve been reflecting on a myriad of things that I’ve been doing since I was in school. It started as me assisting here and there and evolved into me just doing it because they couldn’t do it. Rather than have you sit there and try to come up with all the things that you are doing or have done, I’ve compiled a few comprehensive lists that will help you review what you’ve been currently doing and what you may need to look out for that may become a need in the future. The 2 key assessments I would recommend to take a look at first are the Self Evaluation and the Elder Assessment which can be found in the Caregiver’s Prep Guide. I wish I had something like this when I was first starting out. It would have helped me be better prepared to help and to know more about what my parents would need in the future from me and in general to make things easier for them in their daily lives.
I’ve learned that sometimes we have experiences so we can help others. If you could be prepared before you needed it would you take those steps? Some things I couldn’t prepare for but now that I know what caring for someone else is like, I can share with you my insight. Just like there’s no handbook for being a parent or embarking on this journey of caring for others but this guide can get you started.