Elder Care A-Z©

This post is written by guest contributor Dr. Marion Somers.

With so many things to think about, it can be difficult to stay sane and organized throughout the caregiving process. I know that caregiving can be an overwhelming challenge to undertake.  Just remember that you’re not alone—in fact, there are millions of others in your same position.  I came up with this list of quick thoughts and reminders that all caregivers can use. Feel free to make a copy of this list and put it on your refrigerator at home, or on your desk at work. It could become a shorthand way to keep you organized, and I hope that it also lifts your spirits.

A          Address the issue/issues at hand.

B          Be bold and accept the reality of the situation.

C         Categorize everything that must be dealt with.

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D         Delegate where possible.

E          Ethical decisions must be made at all times.

F          Financial matters should be in order.

G         Get going and don’t procrastinate.

H         Help is available if you search and ask.

I           Independence must be considered at all times for your elder.

J           Juxtapose your thoughts with your elder’s and think about what they need.

K          Keep a journal of contacts including names, dates, times, topics, outcomes, next steps.

L          Legal issues should be handled in a specific and comprehensive manner.

M         Make time for your own family, job, and social life.

N         (K)Now the desired outcomes, goals, and projected solutions to the challenges.

O         Organize your thoughts and plan ways to address each challenge.

P          Prioritize your own issues and time constraints.

Q         Quality of life, for both you and your elder, must be addressed.

R          Recreation and time away is necessary and healthy for your own peace of mind.

S          Search for all resources that might help your caregiving journey.

T          Trust the elder you’re caring for, and trust your basic caregiving instincts.

U         Understand that being a caregiver requires patience.

V          Visit your elder in person, or call them on the phone, or send cards, letters, flowers and gifts.

W        Write out all information and keep it current.

X         X-haustion may set in so find ways to relieve stress.

Y          You’re doing a great job - congratulate yourself.

Z          Zone out and reward yourself for a job well done.

A recognized visionary and thought leader in her field, Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, PhD) has over 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager, caregiver, author, speaker, and teacher of all things elder care. She has helped millions of Americans through her book, Elder Care Made Easier, and her web site, www.drmarion.com, as well as cross-country speaking tours, a syndicated column, media appearances, and more. In addition to the Elder 411 and Elder 911 iPhone apps, Dr. Marion is currently working on a series of elder care technologies and software designed to better educate and empower America's caregivers.