I recently saw a video of a Brazilian surfer who broke the world record for the largest wave ever to be surfed. The wave registered 80 feet and his achievement set a Guinness World Record. The video was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. I can’t imagine the courage required to attempt such a feat.
Surfing is one of the most challenging sports in the world. The waves differ, the elements are often unkind, and the tides and swells alter the surf every day. Choosing the right board is critical to your success. You also have to know the right spot to surf for your ability. Finally, you have to learn the basic technique and receive proper coaching.
I have never attempted to surf, but there are days, as a Health Advocate, that I feel like many of my clients are “riding the wave.” It is particularly common in the lives of caregivers who are taking care of a spouse or a parent. They often take a wave, get thrown off, only to jump back on the board and try again. No videos are taken and no Guinness World Records are set.
Caregiving can also be one of the most difficult times in our lives. The waves can hit us hard, the conditions can be demanding, and the challenges can change every day.
Every caregiving case is different, but here are a few general tips for new caregivers:
Try to have a conversation with your spouse or your parent to determine what they would want if they were unable to care for themselves. Would they want home care? Would they consider moving to a senior living community? I recommend talking about these issues well before a crisis takes place.
Taking care of older adults and becoming their caregiver can be complicated. You may have many unanswered questions about their caregiving needs. Sites that offer good advice include AARP, Family Caregiver Alliance, or the National Alliance for Caregiving. Reaching out to a Health Advocate can also help you identify and resolve problems. Severino Health Advisors can help!
You can’t do it all. Many caregivers are often working full-time and taking care of their own families. Don’t wait until you are totally overwhelmed before asking other family members and friends how they can help with caregiving responsibilities. If you are financially able, bring in non-medical caregivers to offer some additional help with bathing, dressing, companionship, cooking, or light housekeeping.
Explore Your Area
Take the time to learn more about your local personal care facilities, nursing homes, or senior living communities. Visit some of your local facilities long before you would ever need their services to get a better idea of what your options are. Continuing care retirement communities usually have waiting lists, making it necessary to consider getting on a waiting list long before the need arises.
Get Good Counsel
You should make the effort to learn more about the financial and legal issues associated with caregiving. Reach out to a financial planner and elder law attorney to plan for future caregiving issues such as wills, power of attorneys, healthcare directives, and the cost of care.
Caregiving can be just as challenging as surfing. We can choose not to become a surfer, but the majority of us will someday become a caregiver for an aging spouse or parent. Severino Health Advisors offers comprehensive care management. Contact us today for coaching, education, and resources for your unpredictable caregiving needs!