If I have coached one family caregiver . . .

I have coached one family caregiver.

The point here is that no two cases are identical.There are three levels of resources available to caregivers.There are also pitfalls to be aware of within each group.

1) Professionals. This will be the doctors, social workers, insurance people and support group leaders you encounter. They are excellent at taking a complex situation and (hopefully) simplifying it into layman's terms. You cannot do without these professionals; however, understand that they have developed their "way of doing things" over years. They usually offer one packaged suggestion on how to proceed. It is your duty as a caregiver to question anything that feels like it is going against any core values you honor. Don't be blinded by diplomas and credentials. Only you know what is best for you and your loved one.

2) Mentors. These are people who have gone through the caregiver role before. They may currently be in the role of caregiver. They love to tell you how they did things and much of what they have gone through will be of value to you. They are excellent sources for finding both Professionals and Resources. Just remember, even though their journey is SIMILAR to yours, it is not your journey. I suggest the "nod and smile" technique. Listen respectfully to what they share with you, then sort through the information and decide what is right for you. How will you know? Trust your intuition. When in doubt, try a trial run on the suggestion, but set up a reevaluation time within the month to see if the suggestion has been beneficial to your unique situation.

3) Resources. These are the most plentiful and overwhelming. These are web sites, blogs (yes, thats me), newsletters, books, magazines, etc. These really require a judgmental viewing. I read 10 blogs and 4 newsletters on aging and Alzheimer's. Not a week goes by that I don't read conflicting information. These are great sources of validation because they confirm that there are one of a myriad of people going through a situation SIMILAR to yours, but not identical. Again, trust your instinct when culling through this information to decide what works and doesn't work for you.

Shameless plug: i am a huge advocate of taking on a coach who will ask you the questions which will key into the unique, personal answers that you have within you. I had a coach while I was going through my role as caregiver and it changed my life. It helped me to keep "me" at the forefront and to make decisions which supported both me and my mother. for more information, please go to my web page (another Resource) at www.roadlesstraveled-errol.com and enjoy my other blogs and discover what I can do to help you design your "one of a kind" journey.