Sharing caregiver duties with someone else can be challenging, regardless of whether it's a sibling, relative or family friend. You may not live together and might work full- or part-time jobs, making communication difficult.
When it comes to health care, monitoring developments as they occur is important. You also have to coordinate to ensure that someone attends doctor's appointments with the family member who's cared for. Tending to all of these responsibilities can be overwhelming, but here are some tips on efficient and effective communication.
- Catch up regularly: Between attending appointments, purchasing household safety products and documenting medications and physician advice, finding the time to fill each other in can seem hard to come by. However, evenings can be a good opportunity to speak to the other caregiver. You can schedule a weekly phone call or dedicate a few minutes to updating a shared digital document that the other person can read up on in his or her spare time. For important, time-sensitive news, you can email or text the other person.
- Divide the duties: There will be situations where there will be multiple duties to tend to. Rather than take them on alone or leave them to the other caregiver, you should discuss the details of the plan going forward. Consider timing and other responsibilities and divide the work evenly. Documenting each completed step and noting any important changes will allow the other caregiver to pick up from where you left off.
- Speak up: If you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, whether inside or outside caregiver duties, don't hesitate to speak up. The other caregiver is there to help, and if not, you can reach out to other relatives or family friends. AARP pointed out that these individuals can provide assistance in a variety of ways, from researching agencies to cooking meals and bringing them to the family member who's being cared for.
- Meet together: This may be hard to schedule, but doing so is healthy for everyone. You, the person you care for and the other caregiver should spend time together outside of a health care setting. This will strengthen the bonds and allow everybody to voice his or her opinions on the situation and what is and isn't working. Additionally, everyone will be able to enjoy each another's company.