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CareMaps—Visualize Your Caregiving Network

CareMaps—Visualize Your Caregiving Network

Greetings one and all…

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the final days of summer. It’s hard to believe that Fall officially begins next week! So much happened this summer that my recollections are somewhat blurred. However, I am quite clear regarding an educational event that I attended last week related to a potentially beneficial caregiving tool—CareMaps. Consequently, I want to share this resource with you and encourage you to test drive the process of making your own CareMap.

Over the past twelve years, I have presented countless programs on the various aspects of caregiving. One of the most important topics for family caregivers is that of collaborative care—creating communities of care to support and to sustain primary caregivers and the care receiver. Too often primary caregivers attempt to do all things and be all things in the process of caregiving. As a result, the primary caregiver compromises his/her own health in the process. Therefore, I encourage primary caregivers to share the responsibilities of care with other family members, friends, and professional caregivers.

In order to create an effective network of support, we must first understand the current caregiving situation. Who is caring for whom? How much care is required? What is the prognosis? What type of care is needed? Does the primary caregiver reside with the care receiver? Does the caregiver/care receiver care for anyone else (i.e. other family members, neighbors, or pets)? These are just a few of the questions that must be considered when assessing the situation. Kind of overwhelming, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could SEE the situation and thereby identify the obvious gaps in care as well as available resources?

Well, I am happy to report that there is an easy and effective way to visualize your specific caregiving situation. I attended a workshop last week in which I learned about CareMaps. This is a practical, caregiving tool developed by Atlas of Caregiving that provides a representation of a primary caregiver’s support system. Once drawn, the depiction of the caregiving situation serves as a catalyst for conversation between family members and friends.

I invite you—encourage you—to check out the three videos related to CareMaps on the Atlas of Caregiving website. After watching, grab a piece of paper and a pencil. It’s time to start drawing your own CareMap. Once done, gather your family and friends together to chat about your CareMap. I have no doubt that together you will discover beneficial and effective ways to disseminate responsibilities of care to able and willing family members, friends, and professional caregivers. If you are dealing with a progressive illness, periodically update your CareMap as care needs increase and/or change.

Additionally, I have one final request. If you opt to test drive CareMaps, I would love to know of your reaction to the process. Were the instructions provided via the videos adequate? After creating your CareMap, what (if anything) did you realize about your caregiving situation? Did you discuss the CareMap with your family? Friends? If so, what were the results of your conversation? Anything you wish to share, I would greatly appreciate! Please contact me at JaneB@preferhome.com. Your insights will serve to refine the integration of CareMaps into future educational programs for caregivers. Thank you!

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane

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