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Creativity and Caregiving

What Me? Creative? I’m Just a Caregiver!

It feels like you have no life. Between supervising your mother’s home care, paying her bills, making sure there is food in her refrigerator, keeping her company, and being on top of medical appointments, you feel like you don’t have time for anything.

You lose time at work because of your mother. You lose time with your partner. You are behind in your paperwork. You barely have time to get your nails done. It’s supposed to be self-care, but it feels like another chore in a never-ending list of must-dos.

Try to give yourself some credit and perhaps you can reframe who you are and what you do.

Have you figured out how to efficiently schedule and calendar medical appointments for mom? Arrange the transportation?

Do you outsource the bill paying for her needs? Or do you batch them and do them once or twice a month? Have you hired a geriatric care manager?

Have you consolidated her banking so that almost everything is on autopay and direct deposit?

Have you automated grocery shopping through online ordering and regular deliveries?

Do you have alerts on your calendar for Medicare filing and other annual administrative deadlines?

If you’ve answered yes to several of these questions, you seem to be efficient in your role as manager of the caregiving responsibilities. And that’s great. You’ve automated things. You’ve outsourced the tedious time gobblers. You want to spend quality time with your mother and not have your time eaten up by the minutiae of ensuring the basic functioning of your elderly parent.

So how do you spend quality time with mom? How do you ensure that your visits are not just check lists of the medicine cabinet, signing time sheets, reviewing the contents of the refrigerator, and perusing the mail? How do you make sure you both enjoy the time together? Keep it stimulating and interesting for her? For you?

You plan, of course. You think about it and ensure you have topics to talk about and activities to do together. You don’t just want to share news about your kids, your neighbors, and coworkers. You want to have fun together, sing, create, and enjoy entertainment together.

You know which genre of movies she enjoys, which hobbies she loved in the past, where she grew up, and what her holiday traditions are. You think about what you will do together when you can come for a chunk of time.

You make sure to have appropriate music, movies, memorabilia, games, and crafts materials at hand for the activity you hope to do together. You bring cards and stamps so that you can send out birthday cards, holiday messages, and more to her favorite people. Perhaps you will cook together so you make sure the ingredients are in the home. You vary the outside activities and go to the library, go to a neighborhood meeting, or a show. You want her to feel like she is doing it with you and stimulate her senses. Having fun is a bonus, not something you are looking for necessarily. You are a recreation director in a senior facility (as well as an administrator).

There, you have it! You are creative! You are using various methods to engage, stimulate, entertain, and connect your senior with others. Now that’s creative!

Want some ideas to stimulate more creative activities for and with your mother? Check out our articles in the resources section of www.caringprofessionals.com. Let us know if you find them helpful. We think they are! They add more tools to your own creative caregiving toolbox.

Similar articles from Caring Professionals Home Care Resources

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About the Author

Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz, MS serves as director of communication at Caring Professionals. She advocates for the senior population on the state level and writes about senior and caregiver issues. She is a columnist for several periodicals. She has spent decades in nonprofit management and serves as a lay leader and founder of several community organizations.

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What Me? Creative? I’m Just a Caregiver! It feels like you have no life. Between supervising your mother’s home care, paying her bills, making sure