If you’re like many working caregivers, you feel confident and successful on the job but less so regarding helping out with your older or disabled loved one. But even though caregiving can feel like foreign territory, working caregivers often find that the business skills they use everyday can be applied to caregiving.
Here are 3 ways working caregivers can apply workplace skills to caring for an older or disabled loved one:
1. Create an agenda. You’d set an agenda for a meeting at work, right? When you decide that it’s time to discuss some tough topics (not driving anymore, bringing help into the home) with your older or disabled loved one, set an agenda. Think about what your goals are for the conversation. In planning an agenda, it is important to contemplate the desired outcome of this particular conversation. Are you hoping Mom will agree by the end of the conversation to make a change or is this conversation going to be the first gentle introduction of a complex topic? When the conversation is over, have a follow up plan like you would for a new project at the office.
2. Embrace continuing education. Most working caregivers are constantly training and learning new things about their field so they can continue to be successful. They attend continuing education seminars, read about their industry’s best practices and seek out mentors. Savvy working caregivers must do the same when caring for an older or disabled loved one. What books can you read? For example if your older loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, have you read The 36-Hour Day? Can you join a virtual or in-person caregiving support group to find a mentor? Are there in-person or virtual classes could you attend? Hint: Most senior living companies sponsor these regularly!
3. Coordinate teamwork. Many working caregivers who embrace the team concept on the job think they can be super-human in their personal lives while caregiving. Because caregiving can be an emotional experience, working caregivers often unrealistically expect too much of themselves. But just like the most successful workplaces rely on many people to get the job done, the same is true of caregiving. Who in your network of friends, family and neighbors can be part of your caregiving team?