by Joy Loverde
There are no blueprints in caregiving. Each of us will carve our own path. The following self-assessment questionnaire is meant to help guide you to better choices. If anything else, the answers to these questions and the questions in Keep an Eye on the Family Caregiver – Part III will reveal when it’s time for you to supplement your care plans:
Do you get along with your elders, and have a fair amount of influence over them?
Perhaps at times your sister gets along with Mom better than you do. People outside the family circle or an “authority figure” may be more influential and able to accomplish what you cannot – it might be a doctor, a member of the clergy, a geriatric case manager or an attorney who may be able to step in on your behalf.
Do you live far away?
Be realistic about your ability to handle all of the eldercare details from a distance. Are there some things you simply cannot accomplish from far away? Is it realistic right now for you to pick up and move or ask your elder to do the same? Can you share duties with someone who lives closer?
Are you willing to ask for and accept help?
There is no getting around this one. If you have trouble delegating tasks or accepting help from others, then it’s simply a matter of time before the quality of your own life will begin to crumble.
Do you have strong problem-solving abilities?
Day-to-day eldercare problems are complex, multi-dimensional and sure to challenge the brightest of minds. If your confidence in researching options and making difficult decisions is low, you are better off surrounding yourself with professional advisors and, in some cases, letting geriatric case managers assess the situation and supplement the care and decision-making process.
Are you good at learning new things and taking advice?
Everybody -- from health care professionals to the neighbor down the street -- will have a strong opinion on how your elder should be cared for. While some of their suggestions may be off target, others may be worth considering. How flexible and open-minded are you? Are you will to make changes in mid-stream?