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. But caring for a loved one doesn’t have to feel like an insurmountable mountain. When you share the responsibility with your friends and relatives, everything becomes a lot more manageable.
A specialized caregiver calendar can help you delegate important tasks and coordinate with others so you can avoid caregiver burnout as well as significantly improve the quality of care your loved one receives. Here are some tips on how to make one of your own:
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 can help you determine which tasks to delegate. If someone has a background in finance, then maybe he or she 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. Having a general grasp of everyone’s skills and schedules can 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 always important to have everyone aligned on the condition of the person they’re caring for. Aside from having more context as to their caregiving tasks, it also helps foster a sense of camaraderie among the different caregivers.
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.