Caregiver worldviews are as diverse as our days are long
by Isabel Fawcett
Most caregivers readily understand and empathize with fellow caregivers relative to mutual or similar challenges, including the range of emotions we experience, sometimes all within the same day. What some individuals may take for granted is that each caregiver organizes his or her caregiving experiences in very different ways, juggling and reconciling responsibilities as best as reasonably possible.
Caregiving Approach: Lists and Details
I read a blog post which described the author's life as a caretaker. The author is a caregiver to her father, who is in his eighties. The post included a laundry list of detailed caregiving routines and life lessons, including cardiac terminology, diabetic dietary routines, explanations of Medicare Parts A and B, and more. I try to think of these details as little as reasonably possible.
Yet, as I read and re-read the blog's well-thought out list, I recognized areas of overlap to my caregiving situation. For some caregivers, precise lists are a way of viewing progress, evaluating trends, and planning. For others, such extreme precision via memory-jogging notes might be more than a bit overwhelming.
Indeed, the blog shed light on my own caregiving worldview: "baby steps" work just fine for me, one-day-at-a-time. A three-month window of doctors' appointments is more than enough for me. Sometimes calling to schedule a required doctor's appointment offers a caregiver breather, instead of scheduling the next visit while I help Mom check-out of her doctor's office.
The primary difference between our situations is this--I choose both to view and process my caregiving responsibilities in a different manner.
One Day At a Time
Caregivers who choose to draw strength from a higher power might identify with the lyrics of this old gospel song:
"One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time."
I take the "one-day-at-a-time" caregiver's worldview. I think better that way. No two ways about that for me.
Diversity of Thought is Enlightening and Welcome
When I stumbled onto that blog post, I shared it with a friend, who is a fellow caregiver. I was glad that I did, as my friend expressed a different viewpoint when she read the same blog. My friend believed some of us use lists as "stress relievers," writing things down before we can let things go.
How come I didn't think of that pearl of wisdom? It is so true.
In my own "Life 101," I do just that at the end of each day using 3x5 index cards on my bedside table. The last thing I do before going to bed is jot down tomorrow's date at the top of the index card, followed by a few critical things I wish accomplish, including scheduling deferred appointments, upcoming flu shots, challenging arbitrary insurance practices, and more.
I jot blurbs down right before falling asleep to keep stray thoughts from rolling around in my subconscious all night, potentially disrupting my sleep and dreams. After all, caregivers need a good night's rest.
While lists may work for me, they may not necessarily work for you. But, the paths to caregiving are wide.
Think about your own caregiving worldview when you have a few precious minutes sometime.