Becoming A Caregiver Can Be Very Rewarding

Becoming a caregiver is something you do not plan for in the vast majority of people, and it is not for everyone.

There is no single word that can describe what it is. You can read about it and see it first hand, but until you make the decision and actually take it head on, you will have no idea.

It can be the most rewarding thing that you have ever done, however, it can also be the saddest, most challenging, and most frustrating thing as well.

The Important Steps to Becoming A Caregiver

At this point you will have to ask, why anyone in their right mind would actually want do it.

To us the reason was simple; it needed to be done at it was the right thing to do.

Here is a list from that we wish we would have seen and thought over before we made the move of becoming a caregiver and I will cover it in two parts.

  • Assess the situation
  • Prioritize the situation and their needs
  • Safety comes first and foremost—Period!
  • Make your best effort to prioritize your parents needs and independence
  • Get as organized as you can

The first and most serious question you have to ask in becoming a caregiver is the situation.

Is this a crisis and a sense of urgency?  

All we can do is relate our experiences and hopefully they will help you make the right decision.

In our case my wife’s twin sister had just passed and she was devastated to say the least. However, when she arrived back to her mother’s home, she was even more devastated.

Her mother was in very poor condition and several of her personal belongings were missing. After the funeral, she really started to go through things and “assess the situation”.

What she found was chilling.

Her wedding ring was gone, her bank account was dramatically reduced, and her personal will had been changed by her older sister who did not own a home and was living with her mother.

Even though there were four other brothers and sisters, the will was put in only her name. This was now a crisis and an emergency.

She called me at our home in Florida and told me she was bringing her mother home with her.

Older Couple TogetherOlder Couple Together

The First 30 Days of a Family Caregiver

Once they arrived back home, we immediately prioritized her needs. She was on hospice and when hospice in Florida arrived and examined her, they had her file from her home state.

We were told she only had 30-60 days to live and to make arrangements. We have never done this before, and had no reason to question and did as suggested.

The first 2 weeks were basically “hell unearthed” as covered in my Sundowning page. The days were OK but the nights were horrible as she would wake up and try to tear down the curtains.

She was on 32 different medications and some very serious pain killers.

At this point we stepped back and redid step two and added in step three, four and five, all in one major set of moves in becoming a caregiver.  

At this point, we factored in her and our safety, prioritized her independence, and got very, very organized.

Although neither of us had any experience in becoming a caregiver, I has seen it done one time before, first hand.

My father in law, before he passed, took both of his parents into his home at the same time.

I remember him telling me never trust a doctor from a small town if you do not know them-ALWAYS get a second opinion.

So we did. We were very fortunate that we had both the Mayo Clinic and Shands hospital, ran by the University of Florida, both in Jacksonville and got our second and third opinions.

At this point we had nothing to lose as she only had a very short time to live; or so we were told.

You Must Bring Your Family Together and Execute

Here is the second list as recommended by that again I wish we would have had before becoming a caregiver

  • Figure out what resources are available
  • Make a plan for these resources
  • Build a team for now and later
  • Communicate with both your loved one and all family members
  • Execute your plan

This list is spot on and for anyone that has been put in this role can attest, they are GREAT guidelines.

However, although we did not have this list then, looking back at it, we followed it again by the example my father in law set.

Before going into step six, after we got the 2nd and 3rd opinions, the medical experts at these facilities told us she did not have congestive heart failure; instead her heart was absolutely fine.

I would have never done this without the past advice of my father-in-law not to trust a small town doctor.

She was immediately taken off of 21 of the 32 medications, including all the pain pills. Within weeks the sun-downing was gone, Hospice agreed she was fine, and she lived another (7) seven years.

Steps 6 Through 10 Combined

Now we were ready for step six but we as we did, we also combined 7-10 all in one master plan, and then executed it.

Looking back now, it still amazes me how it all came together.

We consulted with her three remaining brothers, two of who lived in the same home town. We had to do something financially to be able for her to survive and thrive as she did.

We made the decision as a family, to oust the older sibling from her mother’s house, and put it up for sale.

The two brothers prepared everything and during this time, something amazing happened.

The city where she lived had tried several times to buy her home for the land as they wanted it for several reasons. The brothers got a call, and within a week, the home was sold.

We now had the resources we needed to be successful at really becoming a caregiver, as this money replaced and then some the money that had been drained and would pay all of medical bills.

We also executed the next couple of steps in our plans for becoming a caregiver; the family agreed to give my wife “power of attorney” over all functions.

The first thing we did now that my mother in law was “back in sound mind”, was to have the will changed back to its original form that included all siblings minus one; she had taken enough.

Those funds allowed my mother in law to live (7) seven more years and while still challenging, we would still do the same thing today.

The only thing we would add to this list is faith and trust, as HE is watching and helping along the way. You will never be alone.


You might like these

  • Caregiver Challenges

    Caregiver challenges lists our experiences and those of thousands that have taken on this task

  • Sundowning

    My experience in sundowning may help you once yu are in the position as a care giver

  • Preventing Heart Disease

    While we are all going to die someday, we can at least do what we can in preventing heart disease in this process we call life.


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