Contributed by Dawn Allcot
Are you a proud and self-proclaimed control freak? Do you feel like you have to do it all, otherwise you will let your family down? Are you overwhelmed by all the burdens of caregiving? Caregivers have a tendency to take on too much leading to illness, burnout, and even depression.
First, give yourself permission to learn how to delegate caregiving tasks. You won’t disappoint anyone if you don’t do it all yourself.
There are some tasks you may not be able to delegate – maybe your mother only likes scrambled eggs the way you cook them or maybe you’re a nursing mom whose baby won’t take a bottle. Keep these important duties for yourself, but learn how to delegate other caregiving tasks, recognizing that it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
It takes a strong, organized person to ask for help and delegate tasks. The CEO of a successful company doesn’t do it all himself – he’s got a strong team behind him. Wouldn’t you rather be the CEO of your life than the intern who runs ragged doing everybody else’s job?
Follow these tips to learn how to delegate caregiving tasks effectively and you’ll stop saying, “I should have just done it myself.”
Take time to make a plan.
Many times, people shy away from delegating caregiving tasks because they don’t know what to tell others to do. They don’t have a written plan. If you keep doctor’s appointments, vital information, and even medicine schedules in your head, you need to write it all down. It may take time to get used to the system, but when you see how easy it is to hand off duties to other people, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
You can use the Lotsa Helping Hands calendar to record all necessary caregiving tasks and assign them to people in your community.
Find the right people to help.
Your first stop for delegating caregiving tasks should be other family members. If no one related to you lives locally, reach out to close friends or neighbors. Start a Lotsa Helping Hands community and you may be surprised by how many people you know are willing to help offer a meal, a ride, or even respite care.
Give clear instructions for your desired result.
Now that you’ve created a caregiving plan and logged tasks in your calendar, it should be easy to let your helpers know exactly what you need. Don’t leave room for ambiguity in your instructions, especially when it comes to maintaining a routine for toddlers or parents suffering from Alzheimer’s, or in any other aspects where your loved one’s health and safety is concerned.
Recognize that your helpers may do things differently – and that’s okay.
Ultimately, it’s the end result that matters – not how they got there. Maybe a friend offered to help with housework and folded your laundry differently than you do. Are your shirts clean? Are they in your drawer? That’s what matters.
Some rules may be non-negotiable, such as “No junk food for the kids,” or “Bedtime is at 8PM.” But in many cases it won’t matter how something is accomplished, just that it gets done. Who knows? If you keep an open mind you may even discover that a new way is a better way.
Say thank you.
When someone helps out with caregiving tasks, make sure to say thank you. You can acknowledge their contribution publicly in the Lotsa Helping Hands Community, as well as personally while they are helping you. Showing appreciation for members of your community helps ensure they will be back to help again and again.