There is so much to know when it comes to caregiving for our family members as they age. Being pro-active about decisions related to caregiving, healthcare and end-of-life issues are crucial. However, the most imperative piece of the caregiving puzzle is self-care.
It is vital for caregivers to understand how to manage both the emotional and physical stresses associated with caring for an elderly love one, as well as creating opportunities for ongoing work/life balance. Caregivers can benefit from ongoing caregiving coaching session with someone who understands your situation and has both the professional and personal experience to provide ongoing support.
How does coaching work?
An initial face-to-face or virtual meeting to discuss your current situation and aspects of caregiving that you find most challenging. Through this initial meeting and ongoing sessions your caregiving coach will help you identify aspects of your role as caregiver that are of utmost concern and work with you to develop strategies and solutions to address those issues. Examples include asking for help from other family members in delivering care, ongoing education ways to support your loved one as they face chronic illnesses or acute medical conditions, and most importantly discovering opportunities to make self-care a priority as to prevent caregiver burnout.
After that they will provide ongoing support and encouragement by way of in-person/virtual 1:1 appointments. Your caregiving coach is your personal advocate offering a “safe place” to honestly share your frustrations.
Benefits of having a caregiver coach?
- Coaching provides you with someone who will listen to your frustrations and fears with an understanding that comes from someone who has walked in your shoes.
- Coaching will strengthen you emotionally and improve your capacity for what it takes to provide care.
- Coaching will improve your ability to make decisions in crisis situations through the utilization of pro-active tools.
- A coach can help you bridge the gap between knowing what you can be doing in your caregiving role to putting that information into action.
- Coaches anticipates your needs and can identify areas of concern while offering support in finding solutions, bolstering stress relief and personal control.
- Coaches team with you to create a personalized action plan celebrating successful goal attainment as well as provide ongoing consideration of goals.
- Coaches can connect you with community resources.
- A coach can provide support for those who are “sandwiched” between their elderly parents and children.
A coach will:
- Offer encouragement through the challenges that come from caring for an aging loved one
- Support you in setting daily/weekly/monthly self-care goals
- Encourage opportunities to share your story with others who are struggling with the same issues
- Caregiver journal
- Assist you in organizing your priorities
- Provide tools that will assist you in becoming pro-active in your care journey
- Check lists for must-have documents
- “What if” talking points to review with the care-recipient and other family members
- Provide support for you after your role as caregiver has come to an end through grief counseling and support.
The prospect of caring for an aging parent can feel like both a curse and a blessing. It can bring parents and children closer and help adult children discover strengths they never knew they had. Nevertheless, it can be extremely overwhelming for everyone involved. Caregivers can make their lives and the lives of their elderly parents much easier by seeking support. Remember, you are not alone.
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