Getting Organized at Home
Author: Shannon Miller
By guest blogger Tammy Badida:
I will admit I have a little “June Cleaver” in me! We have lived in our home for close to twelve years, and for most of that time, you would have found my house spotless with everything in its rightful place. It seemed so important to me at the time, but that quickly changed. Don’t get me wrong I like having my house in order, but spotless is a thing of the past, and the best part is that it is okay. It didn’t take long for me to find that it was more important to have medications in order than to have a clean kitchen sink. Don’t feel guilty if priorities at home start to change.
If Nick was in the hospital, home was a place that I would go just for some sleep, a shower, an occasionally mindless TV show, and to spend some sweet time with our son. There was no cleaning or cooking, just a short reprieve in a place that was filled with so many memories and brought me great peace. It was almost like a time for me to try and regroup. My home became the place that I “visited.”
When Nick was home from the hospital, things ran much differently. I wanted home to be that peaceful environment it had always been before my husband got sick. I loved him being home, but honestly these were the times I was in full-on adrenaline mode. I was a wife, mother, caretaker, and nurse 24/7. There had to be schedules of medicines, home healthcare, showers, and so on. I found it helpful to have a big desk calendar that I could write everything down on and review daily. I felt so responsible for taking care of him, and I always felt the need to get it all right.
One of the strangest feelings I encountered during this experience was the way in which my feelings about being at home changed. In many ways, home becomes just as much of a workplace as it is a resting place. Your loved one (depending upon the severity and effects of their illness) may be unable to do many of the practical tasks they were once able to, and these responsibilities are suddenly yours, from getting them out of bed to getting them dressed. Tasks will quickly be overshadowed by daily necessities, but setting up an organized system at home is the best way to help you get it all done to the best of your ability.
You have to find the system that works best for you and your family in your home. For us organization and structure was key to making things work. I would have telephone numbers of doctors, the hospital, and pharmacy out and accessible, with medicines lined up across the counter. I would get familiar with the appointments that we had to be at each week, and often times the hospital would call and add more. If you’re frequently on the go, see if your cell phone has a calendar feature that can alert you of upcoming appointments. There is no right or wrong way to do this…..find your way!
As far as food goes, you can have someone set up a meal chain for you. If you are not up for visitors or won’t be home, ask a neighbor or a friend if people can deliver food to their home for you to pick up at your convenience. There is a lot of great information at www.lotsahelpinghands.com that can help you get organized with meals and other practical things.
I do not know if this will make sense, caregivers, but you will begin to forget about “you” for a while. This is why it is so important to get some rest and have a good laugh or a good cry whenever you can.
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”-Mother Teresa
I hope you come back next Tuesday for: You vs. Home Healthcare-“Why is there a nurse in my kitchen?”
Article by Tammy Badida