The Partnership between a Caregiver and their Loved One
In Valerie Feurich’s blog post, Caregiver vs. Care Partner: Why You Need to Know the Difference, she notes that “When you go from being a caregiver to being a care partner, your entire approach and the way you see the person in your care is likely to shift.” Feurich goes on to say: “Instead of you doing things to them, you will begin to see them as a partner in this journey. This is likely to result in an improved relationship between you two and enhance the quality of care for the person.” The blog post offers three strategies for protecting your relationship and finding meaningful moments in dementia care. While it is specifically talking about dementia care, most care partners will find something useful in their situation. What ideas do you have about partnering with your loved one about care? We came up with a few thoughts.
- Hiring in home help– As a family caregiver, you may reach a point when additional help is needed. Your loved one may be resistant or nervous about a new person in their home. If you think of the decision as a partner, it may be easier to talk about both your needs as a caregiver and the needs of your loved one. Here are some ways from Family Caregiver Alliance to assess the needs and help make the transition.
- Personalized Health Plan- Most of us know the importance of a health plan and advance directives to make our wishes known. It is a difficult conversation for many but perhaps it will be easier to talk about if both the family caregiver and their loved one talk about each of their wishes and a plan for each of them. Honoring Choices Massachusetts offers a toolkit to help initiate the conversation and simplify the process.
- Self-Care for Caregivers- To be healthy, caregivers must take care of themselves. Much has been written about self-care and often caregivers feel too busy to heed the advice. While weekends away or spa days are nice, Daily Caring offers tips in eight categories that they suggest help the most with a focus on things that can fit into your daily life. Review their ideas here and customize it to your needs.
- Enjoy time as partners– Despite the challenges of aging, you can find ways to enjoy time together. Look at our 2022 bucket list to spark your own ideas.
Caregiving versus being a care partner may be a subtle distinction, but it may be helpful for the mindset of both individuals in the relationship.