Thursday, June 23, 2022

Thursday Thirteen

If I'd wanted to be a nurse, I'd have become a nurse. But being married means sometimes one has to be a caregiver, whether it's weathering the flu or something more serious, like a surgery.

Here are some tips I came up with in regard to being a good caregiver. What would you add?

1. Be as physically strong as possible. If you're not healthy yourself, then you will have to find a way to overcome your own personal obstacles.

2. Have a support team. If you're not strong enough to, say, lift your spouse or whatever is needed, then it's time to bring in a trusted someone to help. That may be a family member or a friend or even paid personnel, but it should be someone who will deliver if needed. And it never hurts to have a backup.

3. Set goals. These may be daily goals (if you do your exercises, you can have ice cream!) or weekly, or even hourly goals (take a nap for an hour and you can have ice cream!).

4. Keep up with medications. This may require a chart or an app, especially if the patient is taking medicines at odd times or you have an off-schedule situation. Pill boxes are helpful.

5. Accept help. We're taught in the United States not to accept help, to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, so to speak, and make it on your own. That's poppycock. If someone wants to bring over a meal, let them! If someone else can sit with the patient so you can go to the store, let them!

6. Take time out for yourself. Even taking breaks while the patient is sleeping can be helpful. Remembering to take care of you is important because if you collapse, you can't help the patient.

7. Practice staying in the moment. Worrying about the doctor's appointment next week doesn't do anyone any good. Just get through the day, a step at a time.

8. Try to keep things normal. If you and the patient normally woke up at 6 a.m. every morning, continue to do that. If you always ate eggs and bacon on Saturdays, do that too, if it's allowed in a diet change.

9. Dress. Both the patient and caregiver need to bathe and dress as they normally would when possible. Laying around in pajamas may be okay for a day or two, but it creates the appearance of abnormality and illness. Go for a healthy look and put on those jeans!

10. Exercise. The patient may have therapy exercises to do, but the caregiver also needs to exercise regularly and not give up any therapy exercises or other healthcare needs in favor of the patient.

11. Eat well. This is not the time for over indulgences or to change eating habits (like starting a diet). Having a patient in the house is a strain for everyone, so don't add to it by suddenly deciding you're going to lose 10 pounds, even if you need to lose weight.

12. Do the best you can. Sometimes this won't be enough, and sometimes the best you can do one day is not equal the your best the day before. "Best" is a subjective word, and while your performance may not meet someone else's standards, so long as the patient is not unhappy, you've been successful even if you don't think you've met "standards."

13. Give yourself (and maybe your patient) a pep talk. There's nothing like an "atta girl" to lift the spirits.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while, and this is my 761st time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.


  1. #2 and #5 and SO important! My friends in the Keys are facing irreparable harm because the caregiver of the duo decided unwisely to do it all himself. The results are heartbreaking. Good luck to you and your husband, and kudos to you for taking an emotional life event and approaching it so wisely.

  2. Caregiving IS hard. I gave my mom a whistle and walked the beach for an hour every evening near sunset.

  3. This is a great list, Anita. I went through home hospice twice, first with the First Husband and then later with Mama. Staying in the present and taking my vitamins are two things that kept me from falling apart.


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