Be Care Curious – What Does that Mean? November is National Family Caregivers Month
When I taught elementary school, we held child study team meetings, inviting all the stakeholders (professionals and family members) for every student who demonstrated a need for more interventive care, followed with an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Periodically, as per the goals set in the IEP, meetings were scheduled to determine the efficacy of the program. As care partners, we may realize that more interventive care is needed, and all the stakeholders must be invited and informed.
Be Care Curious gathers all the stakeholders in the shared care of a loved one for a personal IEP – Individualized Empowerment Program. I made that up, but this shared approach is empowering for every stakeholder, just like the stakeholders who keep a tent habitable – you need all the stakes, or you might be sleeping under the stars!
“Family members, friends, and neighbors devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong” explained President Barack Obama at the NFC Month Proclamation. The organization began officially when President Bill Clinton signed the first National Family Caregivers Month Presidential Proclamation in 1997, and it continues to this day. Their mission statement includes:
- Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
- Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
- Educate family caregivers about self-identification
- Increase support for family caregivers
The theme this year is Be Care Curious - #BeCareCurious with these five focus areas:
- Your Loved One’s Goals ensure that your care receiver is getting the care they want.
- Treatment Options are available. Discuss these with your health care providers.
- Research is an on-going field and a wonderful venue to begin your journey.
- The Care Plan is assessing what will happen next. Establishing expectations is important.
- Coverage = insurance. Find out what is covered and what isn’t.
Self-care Ritual: As a care partner, we know that plans get changed, events get missed, feelings get hurt, and we may experience interrupted sleep. The best way to achieve equilibrium is through open and honest conversations with the stakeholders and practicing self-care rituals often. We must be flexible, we may need help so practice asking for it, or we may need to hire a home health care aide to pursue a self-care ritual, we must eat well and regularly, we must continue caring for ourselves with regular medical check-ups, sleep well, and minimize stress through exercise – even a brisk walk can change the day. Keep your emotions in check with prayer, meditation, and support groups. Sally Ride, the amazing astronaut, inspired us with this idea: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” And to put this idea into perspective, take one day at a time.
P.S. This idea may seem overwhelming, so integrate one self-care ritual, and then another. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!