Making Decisions as a Caregiver

Elderly woman and young woman reviewing papers

If you are a family caregiver who is responsible for making decisions for your loved one, then you may feel overwhelmed. It is only natural considering that as caregivers we know that some of our decisions are irreversible, and it is difficult to know how some of our choices will turn out. As a caregiver who needs to respond to quick and unexpected situations that are consistent and ongoing, it is important to know how to deal with making these decisions so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

When it is More Likely Decisions Will Go Wrong

Caregiving mistakes may happen more often when they are rushed, or you don’t have all of the information you need. If you often feel as though you take action then second-guess yourself, then it might be time to slow down and recognize if this is one of those times where a decision needs to be put off for a moment. Decisions are more likely to go wrong if:

  • You don’t have enough knowledge or information – do you need time to do some research?
  • You don’t have a grasp of the situation because you don’t know what questions to ask – should you ask someone with experience to help?
  • You aren’t aware of the short- and long-term effects of the decision you are about to make – can you ask for more clarification?
  • You are given inaccurate information because you don’t verify the validity – do you need to take a moment and learn more?
  • You feel pressured or allow guilt to influence your decision – do you need to step back from the pressure and talk to a trusted advisor for help?

Finding Clarity

Sometimes you can’t help but make a snap decision, but in a majority of cases you can delay making a decision long enough to feel good about it. When you need clarity on any situation, it might be time to talk with a trusted friend, family member, or consult with a professional caregiving expert. When you can take a moment to set aside your emotions and focus on something other than the chaos of a situation, you will feel better. This happens best when you can lean on the expertise of facts, and experiences of others.

The idea isn’t to procrastinate a decision though, so make a plan to find answers and give yourself a deadline to have an answer. Another way to find clarity and successfully make decisions is to become good at investigating and verifying information. Whether you are very good at online research, or finding resources and other organizations that can help, it is important to have a way to back up the decision you make.

Advocating For Your Loved One

Not all decisions will be healthcare related, but many may be. If you are a family caregiver with very little experience navigating the healthcare system, insurance company, and more, then you may have a big learning curve here, especially if your loved one has lost the ability to communicate with their healthcare provider. Make sure you listen carefully to what the doctors and nurses are telling you. Keep notes, ask questions, do research, and reach out to family members who have more experience with the healthcare system. There are professional advocates and experienced caregivers who can also help you navigate any tough decisions that you need to make.

Did you know that we can help? Contact Homewatch CareGivers of Ellicott City today to learn more. We are always here to help you feel empowered when it comes to your caregiving journey. Being overwhelmed with decisions can lead to caregiver burnout, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a break. We can also help with tips and tricks to help you find the resources you need so that you have the answers that give you clarity. Contact us today so you don’t have to do this alone.

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