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Cover Thy Tushy

If you are the primary caregiver in your family, I recommend keeping a strict account of everything you do every day.  Yesterday I spoke about my record keeping, which, I confess, is a bit over-the-top.  I admitted it was written partially out of fear.  Regardless, it’s still a good idea.  If you don’t already keep records, I recommend starting.  Do it for yourself, and do it for your loved one you are caring for. Make it a habit for both your sakes.



I hear horror stories all the time in Support Group and dementia classes where family members would tear one another apart with suspicions, accusations, even legal threats and actual lawsuits after their loved one has passed.  And every time – every time – the accused always says, “If I had just kept better records of what I did, I wouldn’t find myself at a defendant’s table.”


Keeping records will also help to answer honestly family member’s questions.  They will be surprised, and hopefully thrilled and supportive, that you refer to actual records to answer their questions.  Not only does it set a high accountability standard, but it draws a line in the sand ahead of time that you can be trusted.  It also gently says, “Please don’t question my care. You can count on me.  Just be on my side.”

Professionals will also benefit from keeping strict accounts.  When you are on the phone with the phone company, insurance agent, cable, IRS, or any professional of any sort, keep a running, written record of your conversations; date, times, who you spoke with,  etc., because NOTHING ever gets taken care of in one phone call.  The company’s “story” changes each time you call.  They don’t do their part of the job, nor do they follow through.  YOU have to stay vigilant and attentive because they sure as hell don’t.  One final thing, expect some things to take months to resolve, if not a year, maybe two.


Journaling for me was an outlet so that I didn’t carry around as much anger and resentment.  I always seemed to have this annoying loop that said, “What if I did this differently, or that differently.”  I put myself through many levels of hell unnecessarily. Writing it out helps let everything go, or at the very least, lighten the load some.  Once my thoughts are “out,” and down on paper, or spoken, I can then lean away from things and see them more objectively. I can adjust and tweak things in the future if I need to.  If I didn’t have some source of an outlet, I could very well have been part of the 67% that die before the one they are caring for.


Do the best you can with these few suggestions.  I was far from good at it, and I am still deficient in many ways.  But I do know I don’t ever want to be asked a question I don’t have an answer for.

What Is True For Me:  Record keeping is a real and viable aspect of caregiving.  Everyone’s situation is different.  Do what is best and right for you.


I’m sorry that it seems to rain the hardest on people who deserve the sun.  BUT, the good news is, “no mud, no lotus” (Thich Naht Hanh).  It is unfair and deplorable that caregivers have to be on the defensive most of the time.  We also have to be on the offensive, be the coach, and be the referee.  In addition, we are expected to take care of everything else.  It is also undeserved and deplorable that we have the added stress of being mistrusted.  We have enough on our plate, I know that.  Keeping records of some sort, even if it is a quick journal at the end of the day, is more than worthwhile for your peace of mind.

forgive & forget

A CAREGIVER'S RESOURCE

FOR DEMENTIA

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