Become an Organized Caregiver: Master the Art of Herding Cats
Recently I received a call from a woman who attended my Balancing Work & Eldercare Needs seminar about a year ago asking if I would email or fax to her the information on "Mastering the Master Schedule". Apparently, with 2 kids entering middle school, she was feeling overwhelmed - much the same way she did when taking care of her father - like she was herding cats! She said she remembered how much the master schedule had helped her and her sister organize their father's care and thought it would be perfect to get her children's schedule under control, too!!
I happen to prefer the good old-fashioned hanging calendars because I like being able to see a whole month at a time. I use the holiday calendar my sister sends every year because, in addition to family pictures, the pages have a matte finish so I can write in pencil and make changes as needed.
However, you may prefer to go the electronic route, especially if you are sharing caregiving duties with others. Many computer and PDA programs have calendar templates and you can access from anywhere, making it easier for siblings and other family members, other caregivers, and if appropriate, your aging parent to view and/or add.
To set it up:
Start by blocking out any large non-recurring time commitments
- Personal - such as vacations, holidays, weddings, etc.
- Work - such as the annual meeting, budget prep and review, special projects, etc.
- FAMILY ACTIVITIES such as your kid's sports events, car pool commitments, etc
- PERSONAL TIME FOR YOURSELF such as exercising, a "date" with your spouse, kids, and friends, etc.
- 1 dedicated day a week/month for caregiving-related commitments such as doctor
- appointments, etc.
- dedicated hour a day to address caregiving issues such as phone calls to doctors, etc.
Once your master schedule is set up, keep in mind that YOU are the master of your master schedule! The great thing about pencils and computers is that they come with erasers and delete buttons!
Eldercare Issues Resolved by Choice, Not Crisis