The very same concept goes for caregiving which is so tightly bound to routine for both caregiver and care receiver.
- For the caregiver, routine is what allows them to balance their own needs and those of their loved ones.
- For the care receiver in the depths of dementia, Alzheimer’s or any other long-term illness, routine is basically a life line.
However, no caregiver ever reads the same page over and over in the book of caregiving. Change is a given. This is only natural as your care receiver’s needs become more or less demanding throughout your caregiving journey.
If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your current routine, perhaps it’s time to make a change and reboot your caregiving. Here are a few simple steps to update your caregiving regime:
1. Re-analyse your caregiving routine
This involves drawing up a simple list of pros and cons on what is currently working in your routine and what isn’t. Drawing up this list will also help you to self-reflect and assess what you’ve been doing wrong and for how long, as well as determining why it isn’t working any longer. The act of physically writing out the list holds you accountable so you can go back and check whether you’re falling into old habits from time-to-time.
2. Reflect on your achievements
You might find that your list of pros and cons has far more negatives than it does positives. Don’t let yourself, as a dedicated caregiver, become weighed down by this. Instead, take some time to acknowledge your achievements during your tenure as a caregiver and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for all the listed positives.
Once you have done this, it’s time to tackle the negatives and assess what can be improved according to the current needs of your care receiver- not what they needed 18 months ago…
3. Formulate changes to tackle the negatives
Here you will need to ‘’get real’’ with yourself and realistically face-up to all the negatives on your list. The only way to improve the life of your loved one and your own is to find a solution to your problems, and not dwell on them. Whether the issue is big or small, try not to become intimidated by the work that lies ahead. The point of this exercise is to provide a sense of relief in your solutions and not build upon feelings of stress.
Remember to tackle just one issue at a time, strike it off the list as you go.While this exercise may seem completely overwhelming at first, it will ultimately help you come face-to-face with reality and assess where changes need to be made. If your caregiving routine seemed overwhelming before, this exercise may actually help you to simplify things.
As the months go by and your loved one’s illness progresses, adaptations to routine will need to be made – as with most things in life. If you make the effort to address challenges as they arise, this could also save you time, stress and effort in the future!