Modern science can extend life but not ‘quality of life’. “Everyone will know or love someone who can no longer take care of themselves,” observes author Maggie Strong.
Caregiving does not come with a book of instructions. No experience is required. … So what skills are helpful?
CLAIRVOYANCE would be ideal but rare.
In my opinion, the quintessential skill is intangible - will you CHOOSE to be a caregiver? Not rhetorical or love, but the real choice each and every minute of every day of every month of every year to commit to an indifference to your own existence.
Everyone should know basic life saving skills. Focus in particular on “how to” when someone is in a wheelchair. Include the whole family in classes.
Know your limitations. Hurting yourself is catastrophic. In email associated with the three years of this journal, it is us ‘guys’ who time after time fumble this skill. <grin> You cannot take care of anyone if you do not take care of yourself first.
Most specific skills you will acquire as you need them. Each situation and progression is unique.
Learn and use medical jargon. Do not ‘dumb down’ your language. Communicate as a medical professional.
Practice and perfect writing skills. Record medication times, your observations, symptoms, etc. Use the 24 hr clock, medical terminology, and above all be precise and concise.
Become a living ‘medical history’. Customize and perfect your medical record keeping skills. You will often encounter a new doctor. Over time I’ve scanned all records into our PC and copied to CD or DVD which I carry to any appointment. I just pull the disc out of my ‘man purse’ to display any record on a physician’s PC.
If the person you care for chooses an Alternative Medicine treatment then licensed medical professionals will avoid you like the plague. Your ingenuity will be taxed to support their choice.
Harmoniously you must juggle caregiving, homemaking, parenting, several inches of paperwork, income and more. ‘Multi-tasking’ is an understatement. “Juggling” is to attempt magic.
LAUGHTER is a necessity for both of you. Find or create ... just use it!
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer