I believe caregiving should be a team sport, but too often we go it alone. Caregivers often report feeling isolated and lonely with too few options to turn to for help. It shouldn’t be that way!
Smart working daughters build a team to support them. Here are the 6 types of people every working daughter should have on her team.
The Listener. Daughterhood is an emotional roller coaster for sure. In one 24-hour period we can experience stress, anxiety, guilt grief, joy, hope. We see humor in experiences that we can’t share in polite company. We think thoughts we’re sure others would judge. That’s why we all need a Listener on our team. This is our friend who lets us vent. She just listens. She doesn’t offer advice – unless we ask her too. If we tell her we feel like the worst daughter ever, she doesn’t tell us we’re not. She asks us why. She shares a pint of ice cream or a bottle of wine with us. She lets us be our unique, complicated selves and she never polices our feelings. She just makes us feel heard. As caregivers we often feel insignificant. The Listener reminds us we are seen and heard.
The Champion. This person is our cheerleader and they are as important to have on our team as The Listener. They could be the same person, but if they are, they must be tuned in to when we need them to play their different roles. Unlike The Listener, we need The Champion in our lives to pick us up out of a funk. The Champion doesn’t invalidate how we feel, but she challenges our limiting beliefs about ourselves. When we tell her we are a terrible daughter, she reminds us of our recent acts of compassion and love. When we talk about our guilt, she talks about our sacrifices. While The Listener is likely to share some Savvy B with us while we nurse our hurt, The Champion is more likely to toast us with a glass of bubbly because she recognizes how awesome we are.
The Visionary. This teammate is most likely a trusted doctor who helps us think through what is best for our parent or family member. This doctor respects our role as a daughter (or son) and as an advocate. They listen, they explain – in terms we understand, they consider and present options. They don’t rush us and they don’t judge us. Now while we don’t always have say over the doctors our parents see, we can still find The Visionary.. Maybe The Visionary is one of the specialists our parent sees, or the administrator at the senior living facility, or the nurse practitioner in the practice. There is nothing more helpful than a medical professional who partners with us. They bring the expertise in their field and we bring the expertise as an adult child.
The Know-It-All. Know-It-Alls are the technical experts we work with to deal with the inordinate and overwhelming amount of logistics and paperwork involved in eldercare. Whether we pay premium dollar for their expertise, or we find them through social services and volunteer organizations, it is incredibly helpful to add them to our team. Know-It-Alls can be senior living referral experts, eldercare attorneys, financial planners, Medicare consultants, Veteran’s officers, the staff at our local Council On Aging. Know-It-Alls are not always easy to find, but they do exist, and they are there to offload the administrative side of care.
The Giver. We all know Givers so the challenging in adding this person to our team is less about finding them and more about accepting their help. Givers are those go-to friends or neighbors or relatives who want to stock our fridge or pick our kids up from school and drive them to soccer practice because we are in the emergency room, again, or delayed at the doctor’s office, again. Givers love to be of assistance. Let them.
The Mentor. While there is no one way to daughter, and there are no perfect answers in caregiving, there is also no reason for every daughter and son to reinvent the wheel when it comes to figuring out how best to balance life and care. The Mentor can be a coach or a support group where we can find community, ask questions and get advice – because no one should do this alone!
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