Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Carepartner Wednesday--The Carepartner's Alphabet--J

J is for judgement.

Your loved one's judgement is impaired. You need to use yours.

My mother always told me to "use my judgement." The problem was, my judgement wasn't the same as hers. My judgement said ice cream was a good dinner, staying up until midnight was a good plan and never using an umbrella was justified, because umbrellas were geeky.

Judgement can be tricky.

As a care partner, you are called to make judgement calls all the time, and it's seldom the case that the best answer is clear. Often, you are forced to make difficult decisions. Here are some examples:

1) Your mother isn't sleeping at night, and the doctor recommends some medication. She's already on several medications and you wonder about side effects and interactions. You do some research, but the answers aren't clear. The truth is, no one knows for sure how each person will react to the drug. Elderly people are much more likely to have drug interactions. What do you decide?

2) Your aunt has dementia, and you are her care partner. You can see at some point soon, she is going to need more care. Some days are better than others, and you don't want to take her from her home while she is still functioning fairly well. On the other hand, you are afraid for her safety. You've been able to get some supports in place in her home, but that's a temporary measure. Also, will a place be available in the place you want when you need it?

3) Your father is living in a care setting and becoming frail. He walks with a walker, but his gate is becoming quite unsteady, and the physiotherapist is suggesting that he get a wheelchair. You want him to keep walking as long as possible. You're afraid if he gets a wheelchair, he won't walk and will lose that ability. On the other hand, you know the drastic consequences of a fall. What do you do?

You don't have a crystal ball. When a care decision is unclear and difficult, you can only do your best.

Get the best information possible. Find out all there is to know about the situation. You can only make an intelligent decision based on facts. Check with professionals, but also others, such as other family members who have faced the same issue.

If you are a praying person, pray. There have been many times when I have found the direction I needed through prayer.

Go with your gut. At the end of the day, when you have to go home and leave the person you love, which decision can you live with. If you are continually uncomfortable with a decision, even after getting all the facts, don't do it until you feel some measure of peace. You have to be able to live with what you decide

Make the decision. There comes a time when you just have to go forward, even if you aren't sure.

Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't turn out well. So many of these things are subjective, with many factors and no way of predicting outcomes. If you've thought it through, researched and made the best decision you know how, and it didn't go well--let it rest. You did your best.


Letter J-

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