The possible need for care of a family member is certainly not something you would want to deal with spontaneously if it does not affect you. It was the same for us before it hit twice.
My mother fell ill with Parkinson’s and my father (less than a year after her death) with lung cancer at short intervals. In both cases we were determined to face these issues as caregivers in the home environment. In spite of all the (well-meant) warnings, we kneeled into the “care system” at the time. We experienced a hard but also very fulfilling time together, of which we are glad that we (and my parents) “did” this intense journey to ourselves.
Many valuable supports, such as the care box, have often saved us the day. Read everything about our decision-making about caring for loved ones here.
Caring for relatives – YES or NO?
One thing is certain: if you are toying with the idea of taking on the care of a family member at home, many things have to fit in with your own environment. In the end, this step affects the entire nuclear family. We moved into my parents’ house with our 2.5 year old daughter to look after my mother. In advance, there was not just one question in the room as to whether one could or would do this to a child. What could the little one see? What does it do to her child’s soul when she feels that her grandma is suffering? Or the question, can the relationship between Jacqueline and me endure? What does the care situation do with our jobs? Does that also work financially?
It is true that when it comes to many questions, one simply has to be able to rely on the partnership and the shared energy. Neither tarot cards nor Google help in making a decision. You think things through, set a time limit, discuss the pros and cons, and use your gut feeling to make a decision that you should then leave behind with a good feeling.
In our case, I’ve decided to give up all professional things temporarily in order to be able to care for full-time. Jacqueline was still on parental leave in the beginning, but then went back to work part-time when our daughter had a daycare place. During this time, my financial share was covered by a basic security. It could have been more – but it was enough for everything we needed.
From a purely nursing point of view, in both cases we were dealing with illnesses in which it is difficult to predict where the journey is going. Both Parkinson’s and lung cancer have proven to be completely unpredictable for my parents. In any case, medical prognoses remain a snapshot that has to be acutely taken into account. Days later, the picture may have changed for better or for worse.
“But it wasn’t all ONLY terrible and devastating. We had so many beautiful and unique moments together, also with the children. “
It was a good decision for us as a family
In retrospect, many people around us asked us how we got through it. And that twice. There is probably no general answer to this. In many situations it was really incredibly stressful and sad. Even professional nurses who work in facilities report time and again about how difficult it is sometimes because they naturally also build an emotional bond with many people with a nursing degree. To see them suffer and decline – one is not mentally prepared for that. And with us it was my parents, Jacqueline’s in-laws, grandma and grandpa of the children.
But it wasn’t all ONLY terrible and devastating. We had so many beautiful and unique moments together, also with the children. Unfortunately, Marlon was only born shortly after my mother died. But he also had a great time with his grandpa. Our big one has seen both grandparents. The fact that they only remember positive experiences today is also due to the fact that we always let the children with grandma or grandpa when they were doing well according to the circumstances.
Do you do justice to care – even without having learned it?
When you have cleared up the personal hurdles and circumstances for yourself, you still have to ask yourself whether you can be up to the actual tasks as a caregiver. I don’t want to give a general answer to this question either. But I would like a few pointers as to which things are important in order to weigh that up for you personally.
– What tasks do I have as a caregiver?
At this point it quickly becomes clear that you can only roughly plan your own role as a caregiver. Because every clinical picture brings its own challenges. And there, too, things can develop completely differently from week to week. So you should start with the initial situation. What is currently incurred by the person to be cared for? Can I imagine doing it justice?
There are, for example, a large number of caregivers who clearly decide for themselves that they only want to support them with everyday things. Physical hygiene, shopping and social contacts. At the latest when it goes beyond the administration of medication in tablet form, many people have great respect for responsibility. The use of thrombosis injections or the accompaniment of certain therapeutic exercises are things that many people do not see themselves.
– Am I completely on my own as a carer?
On this point – a very clear NO. In both cases, over time, we have built a completely reliable network. And it actually happens all by itself. On the one hand there is the family doctor who knows his patients pretty well. Then health insurance, long-term care insurance, other specialists with whom the person to be cared for is being treated. And therapists. Everyone can be reached almost at any time and can find new solutions for new situations.
– What if the care situation gets over my head?
Unfortunately, there are innumerable clinical pictures for which a reliable prognosis can hardly be made. At least in terms of the amount of care required. But here too, one should first start from the given situation. Because there is absolutely no shame – and in some cases it is even medically imperative to call in an outpatient nursing service for certain tasks from a certain point onwards.
In my father’s case, it was foreseeable that as lung cancer progressed, we would eventually need support. A fact that we were painfully aware of from the start (due to a poor prognosis). So at that time we looked around for a palliative care service, which on the one hand supported us well in assessing my father’s daily condition, and on the other hand took over all the medical and curative things that I either did not trust myself to be of the same quality as my father did it would have needed, or which I should not have been able to do partly for legal reasons.
Which care aids am I entitled to?
Not only during an exhausting pandemic is it particularly important for people with a degree of care or caregivers to create and maintain a hygienic environment. Every little mess can lead to an infection. Reliable care aids therefore play an important role in the everyday life of a caregiver. Care aids are all typical single-use products that hygienically protect both sides. We have had a test package sent to us to show you the care box from the proSenio group. The following products were included:
- Disposable gloves
- Disinfectants (for hands and surfaces)
- Medical masks
- Eating bibs with a collecting pocket
- Bed protection pads
And that brings us to the typical time wasters – due to ignorance – in the initial phase of a care situation. Because it is clearly defined that care aids are available to every person to be cared for every month, regardless of the level of care (up to 60 euros during the pandemic / 40 euros in normal cases), unfortunately the usual path that is often taken at the beginning is all the more laborious. At the beginning we also laboriously obtained our aids from the local pharmacy, only to have them reimbursed at the end of the month by receipt from the nursing care fund. That costs time and nerves. And is just one of many examples from which you can learn in the course of a maintenance phase.
PflegeBox: Nursing aids monthly free of charge
Since care aids are so essential, reliable and quick access to these products is essential. With the care box from the proSenio Group, all the aids you need will be delivered to your home punctually at the beginning of the month. It is also pleasant that you can have the PflegeBox adapted to your acute needs at any time. For example, incontinence products, finger cots, etc. are also available.
ProSenio takes care of all paperwork and billing in the background according to § 40 SGB XI directly with the care fund. This means that prescriptions from the family doctor are no longer necessary in order to get the care aids you need regularly and on time. A real all-round service that I recommend with a good feeling. Because every unnecessary half an hour that is wasted with applications or receipts is real lost time, which it is difficult to get back elsewhere.
In retrospect, I can say that after two care phases, we learned to look more closely at what options there are. There are so many people and organizations with really great ideas and solutions. The care box is a perfect example, which can relieve the daily care routine by a lot of tugging hair and stress.
As my mom always said: “The best solutions are the small levers with a big effect.”
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