Hi there, welcome to Start Talking with Chemane Rene'. Start Talking is part of our Plan Your Story Interview Series. I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Richardson last month. Nicole is a licensed marriage and family therapist from Austin, Texas. One of the things Nicole addressed during our interview is what to do if you find yourself in a caregiving situation, aren't sure how you got there and need help! I hope you enjoy the tips below.
Nicole M. Richardson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist located in Austin, Texas
Tip 1 - Love Yourself: Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and don't be critical, especially when you are the one who has found yourself in this situation. You are obviously a loving, caring, amazing person. If you don't love on yourself and give some of that goodness to yourself, you are going to run out of the ability to be loving, caring, patient and amazing. This deals directly with your parent, not to mention your siblings… and your partner and your children and your dog and your neighbor and… etc.
Tip 2 - Be Patient: Be patient with your siblings, especially if they don't live in the same area. They might remember Mom the way she was one year ago, they might not realize how much she's deteriorated in the last 6 months. You started just by going over to help with the grocery shopping and the laundry and all of the sudden you are managing her medication and her appointments, and she's not driving as much, and she gets confused sometimes. Siblings may seriously may not realize how bad it is, because you see them on a daily or a regular basis, and maybe they only see your folks a couple times a year.
Tip 3 - Share frustration: Do a log and share it with your siblings. Do a log for 7 days, a log of how much you are really doing for your parent. Really show yourself how much you're doing, what you're doing, what's the scope and the depth of the care you're giving. That can help not only your siblings understand how much care mom or dad are requiring, but it can also help you all take a look at what can they help with.
Tip 4 - Get Help: If they're nearby, can they start helping with the laundry or doctor's appointments… what can they do? Can they contribute to a fund to help you hire some outside help depending on what the needs are? And if you have a big family, maybe consider a Google shared calendar where people can sign up for different tasks on different days. If they live far away, maybe your sister is a financial manager or an accountant, so it is very feasible that she could handle the finances even though she lives far away. Find peoples strengths, build on them, and let them help where they can.
You can listen to the full interview here.
You can reach Nicole at Nicole Richardson Counseling at www.nicolemrichardson.com.