Changing Gears Without Stalling Your Caregiving Journey

Margery Pabst - February 03, 2014 10:47 AM

Caregiving is both about doing and feeling/being. Changing from the tasks that every day brings (cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.) to the first gear of feeling and listening with your loved one can be daunting.  Going from high gear to low gear takes a quick change artist!

The successful caregiver figures out how to make this change along the journey. Stalling out is not an option.  So what are ways to make a smooth transition as we navigate the peaks and valleys of our caregiving role? In this month, February, a month that reminds us that love is the central purpose of our lives, renewing commitments to our care partners and ourselves is so appropriate!! As we commit to being a flexible caregiver, at once the master of tasks and then the master listener to needs and feelings, let’s consider the following:

-DUAL PURPOSE. Consider the dual purpose for both managing tasks and listening to feelings.

-Write down your dual purpose in your words.
-Visualize yourself being both great at daily tasks AND at listening to others’ feelings.
-Begin slow and pace yourself.  Don’t think you have to achieve balance the first day, week, or month!

-PRACTICE. Make each day a time to increase awareness and skill. Your normal caring and collaborating with your care partner represent  your practice. Do a quick evaluation at the end of each day by asking yourself and your care partner, “How did we do at getting daily tasks accomplished?” “How did we do at listening today?”

-PATIENCE. Accept that you will not always be successful in tasking and listening.

-Identify why you are successful on given days. (i.e. a crisis occurred, a doctor’s appointment took a long time, you were sick)
-Identify why you are not successful.  (i.e. Sundays are more successful than Mondays, when dinner is early, loved one has had a good day)

AWARENESS. Just being more aware will keep your balance and help you become successful at getting the both caregiving tasks done and finding time to listen to the needs and feelings of your care partner and yourself.

Just as it was awkward for all of us as we learned to drive, caregiving also challenges us to move through the twists and turns and to smooth out transitions from doing to feeling on any given day.

Click here to read Margery Pabst’s blog, “2014: The Year of Mission Accomplished for the Family Caregiver.”

Margery Pabst is eCareDiary’s caregiving expert.  She is the host of two radio shows, “Caregiver and Physician Conversations”, and “Caregivers Speak” sponsored by  Margery’s most recent book is “Words of Care” which is found on or on her website,

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