Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome to Parentcare 101!

My mother lived in the small town in which she had been born. When I began caring for her, I lived over 250 miles away. My sister, my partner in caregiving, lived another 500 miles away from me. The geographic distance promised to add logistic difficulties to an already difficult situation. Within weeks, I recognized another sort of distance that would play a tremendous role in my caregiving--I didn't particularly like my mother.

These were the facts of my situation. They were unique to me.

What are the facts of your caregiving circumstance? I'm guessing they are different. What can you recognize as challenges? What about your situation makes you breathe a sigh of relief that, at least that one thing is working among everything that you deal with on a daily basis? Do you view your caregiving as a duty, a sacred trust, payback or a little of all three?

In Parentcare 101, you and I will take a look at your unique situation and offer tips and suggestions. These ideas will be perfectly valid if you care for an elder who lives with you or with whom you have a loving, supportive relationship. But in Parentcare 101, I acknowledge that for many of you there is distance in parentcare...either because your parent does not live with you or because your relationship with your parent is not perfect. Together, we'll explore what needs to be done, how best to get it done and whom you should ask for help. Although all of your situations are different, caregivers deal with three areas of care:
  • Providing Basics for Your Parent: food, shelter, clothing, health care, transportation and a social environment;
  • Caring for Yourself: placing yourself at the top of your priority list so that you will have the energy and stamina for caregiving; and
  • Preparing for the Future: gathering information about your parents, their home, available resources, always looking forward just a little.

Each week in Parentcare 101, I'll focus on one of these areas. I plan to post twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. With this schedule, you'll know when to check in for something new, and we'll have time for comments and processing one topic before moving on to the next.

An integral part of the service of this blog is the Parentcare 101 website. The website and this blog will work hand-in-hand to share tips, resources, and advice. I know that those of you caregiving now have a lot of great ideas. Bring them on.

To get us started on our journey together, on Thursday, I'll talk about the "Myths of Eldercare" and how those myths can block good care for your parent and for you.

See you on Thursday!

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