Don’t Take On Job of Caregiving Without a Plan

Don’t Take On Job of Caregiving Without a Plan

Posted on February 1, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Alzheimers Care, Blog, Caregiver Education, Dementia Care, Education, Long Term Care Information

BY GARY JOSEPH LEBLANC – Tribune corespondent

Let’s think about this for a minute; would you start up a business without a plan? Of course not. The same rule goes with the “job” of caregiving. Please do not jump in head first. Instead, research the disease, set up your support system and make a plan of action. Sometimes this means you must have a “Plan A” and “Plan B.” It’s a learning process, like any new undertaking. You may find you even need a “Plan C.”

When taking on the task of caring for a loved one, you must have back-up plans, especially in case something unforeseen happens to you as the main caregiver. It is always the primary caregiver’s responsibility to make certain there’s someone to step in when needed. When you’re at it 24/7, it’s only a matter of time before you get the flu or sprain an ankle, or worse!

Trying to heal or recover from your own illness is twice as difficult when you’re caring for someone with dementia. All of your attention still needs to go to that person. Doctors always tell us, “Sleep is among the best medicines for fighting the flu.” Sick or not, extended and healing sleep isn’t ever possible while caregiving.

According to Stanford University, 40 percent of dementia caregivers die from stress-related disorders before their loved ones ever do. This is why it is essential to set up an appointment with an elder law attorney as soon as possible. Explain your situation in detail and then make certain there is someone worthy of taking over as power of attorney and as a health care surrogate.

There’s no time like the present. Something could happen to you today.

Also, keep a journal of your loved one’s daily routine and medical history. If someone has to step in, this information will be priceless.

You as a caregiver are of the utmost importance in the life of your loved one. Set up a meeting with your family members and friends and put a plan into motion. Be prepared.

Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father for a decade after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He can be reached at His books, “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors,” “While I Still Can” and “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” can be found at www.commonsense

Published: TBO Tampa Tribune