Welcome to FamilyCaregivingTips.com! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Maria, Chief Blogger. Like you, I’m a family caregiver. I cared first for my mother who had Alzheimers and now care for my father.
Did I plan on becoming a family caregiver? Absolutely not. Perhaps, you’ve also found yourself in a similar, unexpected situation and don’t know what you’ve signed on for. That same expression you see in the mirror (part confusion, part terror) is what I saw when I began caregiving.
Life happens and we just have to deal with it. Somehow.
Starting Anew, Completely Unprepared
When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers, my father could not cope caring for her on his own. My siblings either lived too far away or had children of their own to care for. I lived several states away with no dependents. I was the logical choice to be a caregiver. I could either live with them or I could stay where I was and care for them long distance. The latter would have meant me hiring home care aides to come over a few times a week. This kind of long distance arrangement would have been more stressful, chaotic and complicated. Simplicity is always best. I moved back home.
I read books and scoured websites on Alzheimers care. I needed concrete How-Tos not too-broad guidelines. Unfortunately, Alzheimers is unique to every individual. There is no one size fits all description of behavior and care. Neither am I a trained healthcare worker. I coped by observing, remembering, organizing and becoming a good improviser.
Desperation makes improvising practically an Olympic sport. I created methods to help me cope with the ever-changing needs and behavior of my mother. Plus, handle cooking for three, do the weekly grocery run and assist my father with his own health issues and needs.
A daily emergency is a normal thing. A quiet, uneventful day is rare.
Stay Calm. Do Not Panic.
The first year of caregiving was terrifying. Try as I might, I could not anticipate the calamities of daily life. As my mother’s illness proceeded, her behavior and needs would change. There was the added stress of being responsible for medications or figuring out ways to handle physical demands that wouldn’t incapacitate me. It was constant adjustment and stress management.
The best advice is: Stay Calm. The second best advice is: Get Organized. The third bit of advice: Always Adapt.
Sharing What I’ve Learned With You
When I first started, I craved to find practical tips and roadmaps to what I needed to do and when. What articles I found were motivational certainly but short on real, actionable details. I decided to share what I’ve learned and practiced through the years with my blog readers and visitors. I will be posting detailed tips and projects for caregivers and loved ones. I will cover crises in the house, on the road, at work and places in between.
Regards and Stay Calm,
I am a Certified Caregiver Advocate and blog at caregiving.com