CAREGIVER TO DO LIST- Sorting through your feelings



There is not too much worse than blowing up at someone who had nothing to do with why you are upset.  Most of us have done it more than we care to admit, and the sad part is we usually take it out on someone we view as safe.  Someone we love, someone we think will put up with our mood swings.

This is an exercise, which can help you pinpoint what is frustrating you, as a Caregiver.  I know we do not think we have the right to get angry or to get upset, but it is a normal part of the process.  It is part of life, and just because someone becomes ill, basic life issues do not go away.  If anything, the issues will intensify, especially if you choose to ignore the emotions within yourself. 

This is a simple and enlightening process.  Once you have identified the source of the problem, you can than decide how to correct the issue.  So lets’ get you started.  This  form can be used as a guide.

First, make a list of all the tasks you are responsible for.  Break them down into steps if you know something is bothering you, but you cannot figure out what.

For example, if you are responsible for medications, that is a large task. Most of us will take it for granted, especially those you maybe sharing Caregiving responsibilities with.  Break down the task.  Note all the steps it takes to be responsible for the medications.  It maybe:

Going to Doctors appointments,

Communicating with the Doctors and Nurses,

Running to the pharmacy,

Distributing the medications,

Documenting administration of,

Changes in orders,

Relabeling of prescriptions,

Splitting pills,

Timing of medication distribution,

Gathering all the medications to all the various doctors’ appointments… 

Many times, when we break down the task we can find where we are feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.  When we do this, we can find another way to get the step done.  It maybe passing that portion onto someone else or accomplishing the step in a different way.

Second, write down the timing of the task/step.

Third, this one is the biggy.  Note how the task/step makes you feel.  Are you comfortable doing it?  Do you find the task uncomfortable, or frustrating, or maybe you really enjoy doing it? 

When you find something you like to do put an * by it.  We tend focus on the negative.  Do not do that!  Be thankful for the little things you do that you get enjoyment from.  Put an * or a smiley face by them as a reminder.

If you find something uncomfortable, dig deeper. 

Are you uncomfortable because you do not feel you are good at the task/step? 

Is the task/step something that physical hurts you?  Like lifting someone. 

Is it something you find difficult for you to do?  Maybe handling finances is not your thing. 

Do you feel embarrassed doing the task?  For instant helping with bathing and toileting. 

Keep in mind, there are no right or wrong answers here.  Each of us has grown up with different life experiences developing us into the person we are today. 

Next, list who might be able to take on this task/step.

Sometimes, many times, we should probably hire out some services to provide the best care, but we feel guilty about not being able to provide the way we think we should.  The way we think others, think we should.

I call this the “Good Daughter Syndrome.”

I coined this phrase, after my Father had passed away.  When I looked back at caring for him and my Mother, I regretted a few things.  Most of my regrets had to do with my checklist of things to do. 

Don’t get me wrong I loved being the primary Caregiver to my folks, but looking back I realize many times I was too busy doing things on my “TO DO LIST,” and not spending true quality time with them; like talking, visiting, and going out with them.

I also realized that by doing the majority of things for my parents, it pushed my Brothers out.  This was not my intention.  I was the girl.  I was the only daughter.  I lived the closest to my folks.  This was my role.  This is what I was taught.  Wasn’t it? 

Society pretty much expects daughters to play the primary role, if a spouse is no longer able.  By me taking on this strong role, my brothers lost out, on a time to give back to my parents for all they had done for us growing up.  They lost the opportunity to show my parents how much they meant to them.  They lost out on so many of the memories I have captured in the book I am writing, just due to the fact they were not there for them.   Now, please do not think I feel the only way someone can give back, show someone you love them, or collect memories is to take on a Caregiver role.  That is not true, but what I am saying it is a great opportunity to do so if you choose to look at it in this light.

I guess what I am trying to say is it is ok not to do everything yourself.  There are benefits to sharing the responsibilities.  One of the biggest for me is having no regrets when my Dad passed on.  I know I will feel the same way when it is my Mother’s turn.  Caregiving lets you see someone when they are vulnerable.  For some children and even some spouses that is a rare look directly into the hearts of their loved one.   It is a humbling role for both of you.  The level of trust you have to have between you is incredible and strengthens any relationship at any level, if you honor it. 

Caregiving is an opportunity to honor, and love unconditionally.  It is a very precious thing to be part of, but it does not mean you have to, or should be expected to stop living your own life.  Balance is critical to giving good care to another.   Let’s get you back to writing your list.  Please feel free to use the form below or make up one that works for you.



TASK                                      TIMING          MAKES ME FEEL                  ASSIGNED TO











3 Replies to “CAREGIVER TO DO LIST- Sorting through your feelings”

  1. Great Tips! I am currently taking care of a loved one so I do consider myself a caregiver. It can be overwhelming, which is why when I have time, I do research on senior care giving. Your post serves as a great resource. Another great resource I came upon was the Sunrise Senior Living website. They have a whole section of their site devoted to care giving and caregiver support. Check it out if you have the chance:

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