Categories
Caregiving Community Planning Ahead Technology

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

Categories
Technology

6 Call Blocking Features that Help You Stay Connected Safely

Scammers are becoming so tricky that almost anyone might fall into their traps. People with cognitive limitations or dementia are especially at risk of losing significant amounts of money to the scammers. This article identifies six call blocking features that can help you and your loved ones stay connected safely.

Everyone I talk to says they frequently receive phone calls from scammers, and most have a friend or family member that has been victimized by these criminals.

Last week, yet another friend of mine reported that scammers had tricked her dad into giving out sensitive information. Again.

She contacted me for some advice about better protecting her dad from the crooks. This article is part of my response to that friend.

Ironically, the scammer claimed to be from a credit card company’s anti-fraud department. They said they were calling to verify whether the purchase of an expensive new iPhone on their credit card in a faraway state was legitimate.

Calls like this can trip up anyone. People who get tricked by scammers should be angry at the criminals, not themselves.

Call Blocking is the Best Defense Against Scammers

So how can we protect ourselves and our at-risk loved ones from these scams? Especially for loved ones dealing with dementia, it is not enough to tell them not to give sensitive information to callers.

Call blocking technologies are available that can substantially reduce the likelihood of losing money to criminals. These technologies also reduce or eliminate the annoying robocalls that plague our phones so that when the phone does ring, it is likely to be someone you actually want to talk to.

Many companies offer call blocking apps for smartphones. The Federal Trade Commission’s most recent guidance for consumers acknowledges the existence and utility of these call blocking and call labeling applications.

PC Magazine published a good article about the robocall and scam caller problem. It covers the iPhone’s built-in options for restricting calls and briefly describes several well-regarded call blocker apps.

I did some preliminary testing of a few of these apps but not an in-depth evaluation and comparison. Eventually, I plan to create a buyer’s guide for call blocking apps. Until then, I have formulated a list of the key features that make an app especially useful for family caregivers and their loved ones, enabling them to stay connected safely.

Build your own circle of care

Download the app and give it a try. It’s free!

Six Call Blocking Features that Help You Stay Connected Safely

Here are the key features I look for in a call blocking app as a family caregiver. Many of these apps have a free version, but you generally need to upgrade to the paid version to enable some of these features.

1. The ability to block phone calls and text messages. Both calls and texts are common attack vectors for scammers. Ideally, the app has an option that uses your contact list to allow only contacts to ring your phone or send texts to the phone. This is especially important if the phone user is at risk due to dementia.

2. The ability to completely block known scammers rather than sending them to voicemail. As noted in the PC Magazine article, some apps go beyond blocking to actively engage scammers in simulated calls. This keeps the scammer on the line as long as possible, thus reducing the number of potential victims the scammer can get to that day.

3. The ability to notify a device other than the loved one’s phone of new voicemail messages. This way, the family caregiver knows there is a new voicemail to review.

4. The ability for a family caregiver to check and delete voicemail messages from a device other than the loved one’s phone, such as by logging into the account via a web browser. This way, the caregiver can listen to, and act on, voicemails as necessary. This is useful for day-to-day communications management and protecting loved ones from scammers.

The opportunity to manage voicemail remotely is important because some scammers are purposefully skipping the phone call and going straight to voicemail. Thus, they can quickly push recorded voicemail messages out, and they don’t have to hire as many people. Apparently, even the crooks are having trouble finding enough workers.

Another reason some scammers are going straight to voicemail is that doing so may allow them to skirt laws restricting certain types of phone calls. They argue that the laws don’t apply to them because they are not ringing anyone’s phone.

5. The ability for a family caregiver to remotely review call logs, both inbound and outbound, from a device other than the loved one’s phone. This capability is helpful for day-to-day communications management and minimizing losses to scammers.

Outbound calls to people not on the contact list or to financial institutions may be a response to a scammer that reached the loved one by some means other than a phone call. Being able to remotely review call logs enables caregivers to know about and act on this information.

6. The ability to manage contacts from a device other than the loved one’s phone. This way, the caregiver can add, delete, or update contacts anytime from anywhere.

I hope you find this article helpful in protecting yourself and your loved ones from scammers and annoying robocalls.

Ken Clipperton is the founder of Caregiver Technology Solutions, which helps family caregivers and their loved ones stay connected safely at home and when transitioning to new living situations. Ken has more than 25 years leadership experience implementing and managing IT and telecommunications systems in higher education, as well as personal experience helping his parents through multiple transitions. The technologies Ken implemented enabled them to avoid isolation and fraud. He wants to help other families experience those same benefits. www.caregivertechnologysolutions.com