Knowing What You Need Is the First Step In Getting What You Need
By Jean Donahue
know this is wrong, but how do you find your way out of this crazy maze
you're in when every time you think you are finally able to take a breath,
something new comes up and again you are running as fast as you can?
often the actual problem in dealing effectively with all this is just
below the surface, and often the problem and resolution are different than
you think. The key is to discover the needs all around by mentally digging
below the surface. Your loved one has needs, and you, as a family
caregiver, also have needs. Once you gain a better understanding of where
you need help, you can set about to get that help and gain some of the
relief you so desperately need.
take, as an example, a situation where you might be caring for your
husband who has trouble walking. He is much larger than you, and you
aren't strong enough to really keep him from falling. He needs help to get
around the house and to exercise – but what kind of help? You can afford
to buy devices that would help, but you don't have people coming in to
physically help. Your neighbor has offered to help your husband to get
outside, but you haven't asked him. Your husband might need something to
help him walk. Should that be a cane or walker? After outlining the pros
and cons, the needs and resources needed, you decide to call on your
neighbor for his help and ask the doctor which device will give your
husband a little extra support.
sounds simple and obvious, but in the caregiving role, where stress,
frustration and weariness grow, sometimes the obvious is not clear. Seeing
things in writing often makes them much clearer and can lead to a path
that makes your life better and less frustrating. That's why I'm including
a straightforward Needs and Resources form with this column you can use to
help you through the assessment process. This is not a scientific form –
it is intended to address the practical needs from your own perspective.
find out what kind of help, fill out the Practical Caregiving Needs and
Resources Worksheet twice – once for you as caregiver and once for your
loved one. This, quite simply, is a roadmap we've developed to help you
evaluate your situation. There still will be times when you have to
immediately stop what you are doing to take care of your loved one, but
the goal should be to make this the exception rather than the norm. And
the way to do this is by identifying your needs and and those of your
loved one, and then prioritizing them.
how the form works:
List all the needs in each area (physical, emotional, spiritual, social).
You can add to this list as you go.
List the money you have available to meet those needs.
List the people you have available to meet those needs.
List other resources available that you are not using
Compare the list of needs in the first column with the resources available
in the next three columns. In the last column, list the areas you still
identifying where you need help, you will be able to search for a way to
fill those areas.
places you might find helpful: Area Agency on Aging, aging resources,
hospital or nursing homes, home social workers, legal services, and
various other local services and agencies.
phone them, explain your situation, and ask whether they can help or know
of other places where you can get the help you need. Remember these
resources exist to help and want to help.
luck, and let me know how it works out for you. Click here now to access
Caregiving Needs and Resources Worksheet.