“Caregiving (and I imagine parenting) is so all consuming that its immersive nature leaves little room for planning and perspective. Yet, in order to maintain your own sense of identity, it’s absolutely necessary to find an approach that works for you,” says Ashley Look, who is a caregiver to her father.
She shares her own “caregiver plan” where she compartmentalized each day of the week, giving each day a theme, and scheduled certain tasks by day.
Monday: Business/Administrative Tasks
Ashley begins her week by tending to the mail, bills, paperwork, and phone calls. All the tasks that keep the house functioning. She says, “Taking care of business on behalf of another person is an administrative circus. It’s time consuming and it’s important and it’s the last thing I ever want to be doing so I put it right up front so I can get it out of the way and put the dread to bed for the week.”
On Tuesdays, Ashley goes to the library to check out books and movies for her dad. She also uses this time to do research of her own (like looking up YouTube videos on how to fix a dryer and scrolling through Pinterest to find a good recipe.)
Ashley also uses this time to catch up on the news to see what’s happening in the outside world. “As a caregiver, I need to know what’s coming. I’m already at the point of adrenal fatigue so the last thing I need is another surprise. It’s also increasingly important to understand the severity of this problem to assess your personal strengths and weaknesses. There are many layers to this stuff and I feel you really need to know yourself so you know when to ask for help,” says Ashley. Her tip is to “play to your strengths and pay for your weaknesses.”
Wednesday: Core Activities
For Ashley, Wednesdays are designated for all the things she’s been wanting to do but never seem to prioritize. She states, “For me this consists of spoon carving, bread making, knife sharpening, and other crafty endeavors that reflect my passions and enable me to retain my sense of identity.”
“Caregiving is all consuming and if you don’t drive a wedge into it for the sake of the things you love, you will lose yourself.”
On Thursdays, Ashley helps her dad make a phone call to someone he knows. She says while he may have a hard time speaking, his face lights up when he hears a familiar voice. The pair also get out and about on Thursdays, one may be able to catch them at the hardware store or park.
“This is a chance for us to be out and engaging in the public sphere. It’s a day of outside stimulus.”
Fridays are cleaning day for Ashley. “So, on Fridays, I try to focus on collecting things to donate, list on Ebay or Offer-up, or just straight-up purge depending,” she says.
Saturday: Free Day
Ashley does not plan anything for Saturday designating it as a “free day”. She says, “You can use it however you want. If you didn’t manage to tackle something from your list earlier in the week, you can do it on this day, or you can make plans with a friend, or whatever you feel like doing. I don’t hold myself to anything on this day. I leave it to desire…”
Sunday: Prep Day
Sundays are for preparing whatever needs to be done for the coming week.“It typically includes getting groceries, cleaning common areas, doing laundry, reviewing the above schedule, and making a big family meal that will provide a day or two of leftovers,” says Ashley.
It’s important to find a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle.
Do you want to share some tips and tricks or fellow caregivers? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!