Tips to Help Creative Caregivers Find Their Sweet Spot

This article is part of an ongoing series looking at what puts caregivers in their “sweet spots” when supporting a family member with special needs.

Today we’re exploring challenges and opportunities for caregivers whose gift is for creativity.

Creativity is a wonderful gift! It is a particularly valued gift in special needs families, especially when an injection of new ideas and fresh energy is needed. Creative caregivers can be such a tremendous help in a family where there is great need for solving problems, finding new approaches to long-standing challenges, livening up tedious routines, spicing up the food menu, identifying new motivators for therapies, re-designing a home or room for unique functionality, making an old toy fun again and so much more.

Tips to Help Deep Thinking Caregivers Find Their Sweet Spots

When you are raising a child with disabilities or caring for a loved one with complex needs, there is always plenty to think about. There are decisions to weigh, strategies to plan, causes to support, and perspectives to consider. It’s wonderful to have someone on the caregiving team who has the capacity for keen observation and analysis. You may even be energized by serving the caregiving team through a role of that nature. But you may also feel prone to anxiety if forced to bear this role alone or under pressures of deadlines.

Do you have a thirst for knowledge? Do you have a strong capacity to thoughtfully weigh a variety of options when you’re at a crossroads? Perhaps you’re the one in the family who researches therapy and treatment options. Do you have a helpful critical eye when it comes to reviewing details on your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)? When someone suggests it’s time to start thinking about guardianship or future planning for your loved one with special needs, are you already two steps ahead starting the file with background information?

In this fourth article in our series exploring what puts family caregivers in their “sweet spots,” we’re looking at some challenges and opportunities for caregivers who think deeply.

Defining Roles Can Encourage and Empower Parent Caregivers

In our home, defining roles isn’t about whether we are pulling equal weight or that the number of hours either of us puts into the process is comparable. It is about how we are learning to leverage and optimize our own unique strengths, talents, capacities and perspectives to ensure the Carly, our marriage, and our family thrive.

You and your team may benefit from a periodic review of the division of labor in your home. Such a review can help clarify roles, validate or affirm team members for their contributions, highlight gaps in coverage, reveal needs for fluidity, identify needs for more delegation or collaboration, support healthier boundaries, confirm why someone is needing more rest, and bring greater respect to those whose contributions are more indirect but no less valuable (e.g., someone serving as the “primary breadwinner” outside the home).

In today’s blog, we’re inviting conversation about how to adjust for more balanced systems.

Tips for Caregivers About Leading and Following

This is the latest installment in our series helping caregivers find their “sweet spots.”

When family members are caring for a loved one with disabilities or other special needs, the household runs, in many ways, like a small business. There are daily needs for logistics management, ordering supplies, doing paperwork, tag-teaming or scheduling help in shifts and maintaining morale.

Today, we are exploring the roles of leaders and followers. Like any strong business, the thriving caregiving team embraces the strengths of both.

Tips for Caregivers Concerned About Maintaining Their Energy Reserves

Today we’re exploring some challenges and opportunities for caregivers who prefer life at a slow, steady and relatively predictable pace.

It may be surprising for you to know that your family longs for your involvement — not just because more hands make lighter work but because they genuinely enjoy your presence.

Caregiving requires a lot of energy. It can be challenging to maintain the mental and emotional reserves for the normal activities of daily living. Many situations are physically demanding as well. In some cases, there may be little margin for the kinds of activities or rest that refuel the caregiver whose energy level generally runs on the low side.

If this describes you or someone close to you, I think you’ll find encouraging tips to understand and optimize your unique strengths.

This is the sixth article in a series helping caregivers tap into their strengths.

Tips for Caregivers: Feeling Valued and Competent

Whether or not the people in your world effectively tell you so, you are highly valued. Family caregivers are “essential workers.” And it is not weakness to need to feel valued. God made us relational beings. The exchange of affection is essential for maintaining satisfactory relationships. What is weakness is relying too heavily on others to keep us feeling affirmed. God insists on being our first love.

If you’re fueled by feeling respected, affirmed, appreciated or loved, read on for valuable tips and encouragement.

This is the third article in a series exploring what puts family caregivers in their “sweet spots” when supporting a family member with special needs. Today’s focus is on how caregivers experience refreshment through affirmation, appreciation, respect and a sense of competence.

Tips for Caregivers Energized by Connectedness

The life of a caregiver can be socially isolating for a variety of reasons. And limited socialization has unique impact from one person to another. Some people simply don’t need a lot of interaction with people. Others have great need to feel loved, cared for and valued.

As you ponder the nature of your own needs for community and relationships, consider how the tips in today’s article may help you function from a place of strength.

This post is the latest installment in a developing series for caregivers. We’re exploring what helps us find our “sweet spots” in the family that cares for one another amidst the challenges of disability. We hope today’s article encourages you and offers tips that help optimize your strengths.

Tap Your Caregiver Strengths

I start each day like every other parent caring for a loved one who has disabilities or mental health concerns — with desperate needs to keep up my energy, feel competent, provide safe and efficient care, remain loving and compassionate, fight fears, feel a sense of control over my circumstances, get satisfying socialization, balance attention to each loved one in my life, do adequate self-care and generally stay encouraged. Caregivers don’t need to live at the end of their rope! There is a way to stay energized and effective.

Can Caregivers Expect Something Out-of-this-World?

When parents find themselves in a life of complex — possibly even lifetime — caregiving, as we have with our daughter, Carly, we are regularly faced with hoping for healing, praying over various obstacles and longing for sleep. We are constantly grappling with expectations that life could get better or easier while frequently pushed to the limits of our capabilities and capacities.

When the needs of our child are complicated by disability and/or medical issues, the bar of expectations is naturally raised. We are quite desperately reliant on having a robust system of supports in place in order to maintain quality of life. We don’t want to be so needy. But we have found ourselves in an unexpected dilemma.

Like it or not, caregiving radically alters our realities and mindsets about what we need and expect from ourselves, others, life, and God. We must work out our expectations of that system on a daily basis.

Expectations — that is the subject over at the blog today. Head on over and check it out!

This is part of our ongoing series on the 8 Habits of Caregivers with a Robust Support System.

Tips for a Task-Oriented Caregiver

Some people are “wired” for projects. They actually get energized by putting things in order, finding efficiencies, coordinating team members and checking the lists. If this describes you, let me just say how admired and valuable you are.

We hope today’s blog encourages you and offers some tips to help you optimize your strengths.

This is the first post in a new series for family caregivers. We’re exploring what helps us find our “sweet spots” in the family that cares for one another amidst the challenges of disability.

Tell us in the comments what works for you!