Do you know The 4 Main Thing of Caregiving?
Have you ever heard the phrase? – “Keeping the main thing the MAIN THING” This term was coined by the world renowned author Steven Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly effective people.
In my experience as a caregiver, I found myself in the trap of chasing windmills and putting out fires when it came to all the task required to function as a caregiver. However, I was challenged by the 7 Habits book to be effective in my actions and step away from the urgent. In my pursuit to improve my skills as a caregiver, I was challenged to drill in on tasks that were of higher importance.
Of all the things that I found myself engaged in, the 4 things that were of most importance were:
I found that in order to effectively take care of the needs of another person and especially if it involves addressing medical and financial issues, I found that if you don’t approach this in an orderly fashion, you will face a lot of road block. I highly recommend getting a Power of Attorney. If you can’t get that document then you will want to consider getting Guardianship along with Conservatorship. There are a few other documents to consider, which I have covered in detail in the book Courageous Caregiver.
Let’s face it. When it comes to health care these days, the cost can add up fast. Much faster than folks can afford. Even if you planned in your long-term budgeting for health care, there are certain procedures that could quickly eat away at your personal savings and assets. You will want to make sure your loved one has the right level of coverage based on their condition and prognosis. Based on the condition, there is also supplemental help out there. What I have advised so many is that your help will only be limited to your inability to persistently ask. Also, when it comes to finances, you will want to be organized and budget accounting for all expenses related to your loved one and yourself. Keep a monthly budget and cash flow sheet so you can see on paper a number of resources you are working with and as a caregiver, you will want to keep your assets separate from that of your loved one so you can do proper accounting.
This is one of the tougher issues that will challenge you. Most caregivers are not medically trained which increases the level of difficulty and understanding. Yet, nothing is beyond understanding. First of all, make sure to do good homework on the disease. Examine the prognosis and every option. Seek out second, third or even fourth opinion. It would be advisable to do good research on treatments and alternative options. Seek out experts in the field of studies and review the medical and therapeutic options. By all means don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more informed and intelligent a question the better the answer you will get. Especially, if you come across a doctor who will only communicate in medical terms. If you are versed in the terms it will limit the amount of confusion that can be presented. But having a level of understanding it can then better guide your approach and limits for what you can and should do as a caregiver.
Above all that we have discussed, this is the most important of all. This is the area that most caregivers suffer because they find themselves caught up in the trap of the other three. You see, when you are placed in the position of caregiver, it takes wisdom and maturity to see that it is a noble privilege. It can be emotionally tasking at times and some may shy away from what they are experiencing. However, it’s critical to grasp that because of past relationship (great, good, or mediocre), you are now faced with dealing with your loved one who is in a less fortunate position. It hurts to love someone when they are not at their best physically. Yet, this moment is pushing you to increase in your humanity. I implore you to cherish the time and put in and get out of it, the very best that LIFE has to offer. Connect at the highest level possible and reminisce the good times and exchange in your deepest level of expression. Mortality is a gift. It lets us all know that there are limits and that time and love should not be squandered. If given the opportunity to show love for another human being we should never let anything or minor circumstance hold ups back from its truest expression.
In summary, I want to encourage you to prioritize. Task will come and go, as well as people. However, time and your memory will record how not you handed legal, medical, or financial matters, but will register more, how you loved and how you made others feel loved. Are you up to the call and full measure of this responsibility? It will not be an easy journey, but it will very well be worth all that you put into it. Love at the highest level possible and live life to its fullest degree. Make a huge difference.
Thanks for taking this time to read this. If you can, share this with someone who may need it. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I also love the questions that you all have been sending and I would love to hear more. I am here to help.
Be Blessed to Be a Blessing
Curtis Walker, Author