Sunday, April 01, 2007

Caregiving Metaphysics SKILLS

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

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  1. Patrick, what I understand from all that you've written is that caregiving, then, is a life. It is a way of life. Something happens to our loved one, and one is thrust into the situation, perhaps over night with no prior training, and suddenly, one must become a caregiver. Therefore, one must become knowledgable in the skills, and the practice of them, to become an effective caregiver for the duration of the relationship. One can abandon one's role and responsibility, or one can embrace it. You show us how to embrace it. Has there ever been a television program or series that addresses the daily life of a caregiver such as yourself? If there isn't, I think there should be one! More and more people are finding themselves caregivers at home as our baby boomers get older. Even as neighbors, we find ourselves becoming caregivers for them, giving more than we would if our neighbors could do for themselves on their own. Yes, times they are a-changing. It isn't just love your neighbor... it's care for your neighbor. Thank you for always keeping me grounded in the needs of others. bea

  2. This entry was so very intelligent!  Having been in that place, then watched others do it as a living (!) you really put things in perfect perspective.  I can say with all knowledge that making that CHOICE as you say is so important, because your good work most likely will never be validated, thanked, appreciated, noticed.  Then of course, to KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS.  Thanks for putting this so well.  Only someone who's been there, like yourself, really knows.  God bless - Happiest blessed Palm Sunday + CATHY  

  3. Thank you....I agree with the others. My husband chose to be mine. Not realizing, both he and I, that I would progress and get worse. Now, it is over whelming to the family and more so on him. :o( I feel so badly for him. There needs to be some kind of a video out there just for caregivers. I love your journal and I use it to show him. Thank you so much Patrick.

  4. all good things but the most important is.........Love:) with out love the care giver couldn't do there job. oh they could but it would be 2nd rate. when i see you and Patty i see love. the way she looks at you and smiles priceless:) have a good week


  5.  All good things and your sense of humor shines through.


  6. (((((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))You are an amazing person.I always love reading your journal.I know you are a wonderful caregivver.Have a nice week ahead.

  7. Deb stated it well, definitely love is also a very key element of care giving; love and commitment and dedication mixed, of course, with a great sense of humor and laughter, and the result is care giving done well and care receiving received with dignity and compassion. All great points you made; especially thought the medical records aspect of it was very relevant to include; cannot tell you how many reports over the years I've typed with "patient is a poor historian", "patient doesn't know what medications he/she is on" etc. Keeping it on a CD like you do is a great idea.

  8. I guess I lucked out with my medical team.
    All were supportive of me seeing the accupuncturist when they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.
    Ironically--it was my accunpuncturist who made some phone calls and found the GI doctor who could figure out the first steps of my problem and send me to the right specialist.
    Even the specialist was aware of my accupuncturist and the herbs I was taking.  Although I'm pretty sure he didn't believe in them--he told me to keep taking them if it made me feel better.

    I "accidentally" kept a set of x-rays from my knee.  Well ok--I drove around with them in my trunk for almost a year and decided I had them that long and no one was asking for them back--so I kept them!

    Great advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy Spring!

  9. Excellent advice here Patrick! Bloglines is not notifying me on my AOL journals as reguested...argh!



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