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8 Tips to Make Your Care Calendar

Planning and managing a calendar Being a caregiver in the family requires time and effort in managing a lot of responsibilities for the loved one. It can feel like a full-time job, and at times, can be overwhelming. Caregiving centers around relationships and time. Two valuable gifts. When you share the responsibility with your friends and relatives, everything becomes a lot more manageable.

 A caregiver calendar will help you delegate important tasks and coordinate with others.  Organizing time and tasks helps avoid caregiver burnout as well as significantly improve the quality of care your loved one receives.

Read below for a few tips on making a calendar for your circle:

1. Make a list of everything that’s needed

Before you start delegating tasks, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the different things that need to be done to care for your loved one. It can be general tasks like routine bill payments or checkups, as well as very specific ones like a particular type of soap you need to use for sensitive skin. Take note of the length of time these tasks take to make sure that everyone can adequately make room to accomplish them in their schedule. 

2. Assess your helpers’ skills and schedules

Knowing your helpers’ skills and vacant time will help you decide which tasks you can delegate. If someone has a background in finance, then maybe they can help with handling the budget and expenses. If someone has a background in nutrition then maybe he or she can help take care of their diet. When it comes to coordinating schedules, if someone is working on the night shift, then maybe they can visit in the afternoon so you can step out to run errands. Knowing generally what everyone’s skills, hobbies and schedules are will help you create a caregiver calendar that benefits everyone. 

3. Create a schedule that works for everyone

Try mapping out a schedule that takes everyone’s skills, schedules, and interests into account. Create a few variations to know which one works best for all. It’s not just about the one giving care but also the one being cared for. Different conditions will require different kinds of care, from the duration, frequency, to the actual tasks themselves. 

Consult everyone involved and get their opinion. Clearly define the needs of the one being cared for, and the responsibilities of each caregiver. Most importantly, make sure that the one being cared for is on board and comfortable with the plans you’re making.

4. Keep everyone informed

It’s important that everyone generally understands the condition of the person they’re caring for.  This helps build your care circle camaraderie and to be consistent with the person you are taking care of. 

Of course, some information can be sensitive and shouldn’t be shared with the public. However, knowing the situation can actually make others spring into action and help out. Find a balance between what needs to be communicated to your caregiver group and what is better kept to a smaller group. 

5. Create a good working relationship

While we want to count on our family to lend us a helping hand, it’s very important to set boundaries and respect them—that’s why having a caregiver calendar is instrumental in helping everyone stay accountable when it comes to their assigned tasks, while allowing them to tend to other aspects of their lives. 

When it comes to caregiving, always proceed with compassion and patience, for the one you’re taking care of as well as the ones you’re sharing the responsibilities with. Consider their hours of work, whether or not they will have enough energy to do tasks right after their shift, or if they can help in some other way that doesn’t require them to be physically there. Respect their time and needs as well. 

Know what they’re comfortable with in terms of the help they can give. Some might be more willing to share their skills and time rather than help financially. Every kind of help matters. Take the time to let them know they’re appreciated.

6. Learn to prioritize

As you build your care calendar, you’ll notice certain patterns, overlaps, or inconsistencies. This is an opportunity to prioritize the needs of the one you’re taking care of. Identify which tasks are critical and time-bound versus flexible. What are the things you have to do personally and what are the tasks that you can delegate to other caregivers in your family? 

Take the time to teach other caregivers how certain tasks are done so that you can confidently leave those to them in the future. Find ways to lighten your load, so you can provide a consistent quality of care for your loved one. 

7. Simplify tasks

Learning to break down complex tasks can be an easy way to reduce the back-and-forth between caregivers in the family. Simplify tasks into easy steps to help guide them on what needs to be done. For example, if the task is to have a checkup, then it needs to be broken down into simpler tasks like setting up the appointment, getting certain tests done if needed, and the actual doctor’s appointment.  

This will allow other caregivers to chip in and volunteer to do the task if they have more capacity to help during that time. 

8. Take advantage of available technology

Nowadays, there are many ways to coordinate with caregivers in your family from group chats, to emails, to video calls. Make good use of these tools to efficiently communicate with others certain updates or changes to your care schedule. These also allow you to keep even the family members that are abroad or in another state up to speed, creating solidarity among everyone.

Keep your care calendar organized. Make sure that every caregiver is informed of pending tasks as well as other important updates with CircleOf. Privately share information and coordinate care conveniently and securely with the app so you can take care of your loved one, while also making sure not to forget to take care of yourself. Schedule in time for breaks and a bit of pampering for yourself knowing you have other caregivers to rely on.

References

https://awareseniorcare.com/caregiver-daily-schedule/

https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2016/06/using-a-calendar-to-share-caregiving-responsibilities/

https://myhometouch.com/articles/how-to-set-up-a-caregiving-schedule

www.seniorhousingnet.com/advice-and-planning/how-to-create-a-care-calendar-for-family-caregivers

https://dailycaring.com/4-tips-get-family-to-help-with-elderly-parents/

https://www.saundershouse.org/article/3/20/2018/how-coordinate-care-aging-parent-your-siblings

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-share-caregiving-responsibilities-family-membersA family

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Community

A Love So Deep

“You’re not going to do it all,” she said. Firmly. I was confused. Of COURSE I was going to do it all. I was her lover, her partner, her forever. We were in this together! This was the most important job of my lifetime! How guilty would I feel if someone else took care of her?!? I should have known better than to believe I could change her mind when she was this sure.

Was this a follow-up to her statement a few weeks ago?

“If it gets to be too much, I’m ok with you putting me in a nursing home.” She laid this edict down at a table in our favorite restaurant, before the food came, with other people at the table.

What?!? I would NEVER DO THAT. I told her this would not be happening. No way.

Looking back, I see with a clearer eye what might have led her in this direction. She had a large community of deep relationships, born out of her family’s physical and emotional distance after she came out as a lesbian. But she had family in her friends. Even her exes loved her with a fierceness that dropped my mouth open. I, on the other hand, was an anxious social phobic, leaving the party as soon as the guests arrived; I had done this at many parties of hers!!

Dumbstruck, I simultaneously realized that she had every right to decide how she wanted to live this last time of her life. At diagnosis they had given her 6 months to a year, but she had already outlived that, so we lived in the land of “dying but we don’t know when”.  As she put it, “everyone’s going to be hit by a truck, but I’m so close I can see the dent in the fender.”

A few months later we were out to dinner with a crowd of her friends. The food was delicious, the conversation lively. And I was awkward, uncomfortable. Too big a crowd. Almost couldn’t eat the delicious Italian feast in front of me. Like a lightning bolt, it hit me, “I am not going to be able to do this unless I drop my shyness. Completely. I can’t be who she needs if I resist all these people.”

I looked around at the (small) crowd. We were going to do this together. We were going to help her die.

The next time we talked about the support we would need, she said, “you are the only one who can be my partner, my love. I need you to accept all the help so that you can be that.” It wasn’t an easy thing to embody; I lived on the premise that I proved my love by how much I could overdo it. How much I did for you equated to love. She was asking me NOT to do. I didn’t know how NOT to do. But we planned a support meeting to talk about how, now that we were committed partners, we still needed the vast community to continue supporting her and us. She let everyone know that they should consider anything they did for any of us a support to her. The list of things this community of nearly 100 did for us included (for YEARS):

  • Dinners several times a week
  • Escorts to so many appointments; so, so many
  • Weekly promises of time with our children, even after we added a baby a few years in
  • Research
  • Financial help
  • Organizing all the help so that we had only one person to ask for everything
  • A list of supports way beyond the length of this article

I had never been comfortable being helped. That is the simple truth. And now I lived in a world in which people were doing things for me and my family, on the daily, that were BIG things. Over time, I noticed the way I deflected the help every time; “are you sure, don’t worry if you can’t, did I really need that thing anyway?” It was exhausting. I wish I could tell you that I quickly addressed this problem, but I did not. I had to get really, really, uncomfortable. But finally, I made a deal with myself and committed to it for an experiment for a year: Just say thank you. Nothing more. And say it sincerely!

That last part took a while to gel. The first few months those two words caused my stomach to flip, and it was a struggle to wrest them from my tight lips. My deep aversion to appearing needy meant I had no experience with a simple thank you! But then, what a surprise, it became more and more pleasurable to say thank you. And I meant it more and more. The biggest surprise was that all those people doing all those things for us got happier and happier! As it turned out, it was an even exchange; the gifts they gave were recompensed with gratitude. No debt owing.

By the time she finally died, years later, I could hardly remember that shy awkward person I had been. Our house was full of people that night who helped wash her body, lay her out in her splendid attire, bid the entire community come to say farewell. I had been changed by her, but also by a community of love formed by the human need for family, since so many of our community had been rejected by the families who brought them into this world.

My parents, who had found a way to love me for who I really am, also became a part of this community, contributing their part and at the same time witnessing all of us walking her home. My father, the American Baptist minister who later performed my wedding when I remarried, was the one man who helped anoint her body. After her death, my mother said, “I have been a part of loving church communities my whole life, but I have never seen a community as loving as yours.”

And so, yes, being a member of the LGBTQIA community has its losses, its pains, the oppressions that can be crushing. And, also, great challenge can transform, over time, to something we would never have expected; a love so deep it bores into the earth and carries our feet through anything.