There isn’t a manual that you can purchase that tells you everything you need to do as a new caregiver. There are so many things to do and think about. What to do and what to consider often depend on where you are in your caregiving journey. Denise Brown’s book, “The Caregiving Years: Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey”, gives a fluid framework that can be used by any caregiver to assess where they are in their journey and what the key items to consider are.
Stage 1 – Expectant
Denise says the first stage of caregiving is the Expectant caregiver. This is really the best stage to be in. At this stage, you know that you might be caring for someone in the future – but you are not yet doing the tasks. While there is a great book for expectant parents called, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, there isn’t such a thing for family caregivers.
Stage 2 – Freshman
The second stage of caregiving is the Freshman caregiver. The freshman is just starting to do some of the basic caregiving duties. For example, if your parent is starting to age, you might visit more often or you may start to drive them to the senior center because they are no longer comfortable driving.
Stage 3 – Entrenched
The third stage of caregiving is the Entrenched caregiver. These caregivers are so busy, sometimes they forget to eat. Caregivers in this stage are up to their eyebrows in things to do for their caree. This is often the busiest stage of caregiving when time management becomes a great asset.
Stage 4 – Pragmatic
The fourth stage of caregiving is the Pragmatic caregiver. These caregivers are comfortable in their role as caregiver and have figured out how to manage all the tasks that nearly buried them in the third stage of caregiving. It is kind of like the “meh” emoji. Many pragmatic caregivers have a very interesting sense of humor about the various caregiving tasks they have performed.
Stage 5 – Transitioning
The fifth stage of caregiving is the Transitioning caregiver. These caregivers are awaiting a time in the near term where they will no longer be caregiving. They are preparing for the end of the caregiving role. This is often one of the most emotional caregiving stages.
Stage 6 – Godspeed
The six stage of caregiving is the Godspeed caregiver. The role of caregiving has concluded and the caregiver is now trying to find how to move on to the next stage in their life. This is the stage of caregiving where all the lessons learned in caregiving can be brought to bear when taking on something new.
The reason it is helpful to know what stage of caregiving you are in is so you can figure out what tasks are the highest priority for you and your caree (care recipient). For example, if you are in stage 1 – you are just realizing you are going to be a caregiver, so Denise suggests that ‘ask’ is you key tool in this stage. You will use this time to ask all the questions to all the right people so you can best prepare for your journey moving forward.
If you want more information on the six stages of caregiving, visit www.caregiving.com and use our referral code MINDLIGHT if you find any useful tools – it will save you 20%.