Self-evaluation is crucial to caregivers. While you will be presented with many new responsibilities and challenges, you must know what you can do and the extent of your own personal limits.
Answer the following questions as honestly as you can. Addressing these issues sooner rather than later will help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses, which will be beneficial to you as a caregiver. Share these questions (and your answers, if you feel comfortable) with your siblings, or other co-caregivers, and delegate your roles appropriately.
1. What can you do as a caregiver?
2. How do you feel about becoming and acting as a caregiver?
3. What would you identify as your characteristic strengths and weaknesses?
4. Who will help you with your caregiving responsibilities? (Identify what others can do.)
5. Beyond your immediate circle of contacts, where will you look for additional help?
6. Can you work easily with others or do you prefer to work independently?
7. Are you flexible with your own schedule?
8. What negative issues do you foresee with serving as a caregiver?
9. How will you respond to or counteract these negative issues?
10. Where will you seek respite for your loved one?
11. Where will you seek respite for yourself?
12. List three additional ideas for personal coping and caring mechanisms (these will be new areas of interest to you that you could try in the future).
13. How much personal respite time will you give yourself?
14. What do you want to achieve as a caregiver?
15. Are you hesitant or reluctant to serve as a caregiver? If so, why?
16. How much will this hesitation interfere with your caregiving duties?
17. Will you be able to perform certain tasks or do you need to assign them to others?
18. Can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am doing the best job I can as a caregiver”?
19. Do you have any regrets about serving as a caregiver? If so, what are your regrets and how can you resolve them?
20. Where can you learn more about your loved one’s medical condition and prognosis?
21. What other personal or professional demands, besides caregiving, exist for you?
22. How will you know you have done your best being a caregiver?
23. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? (Note that optimists will have an easier time and might be better caregivers.)
The number of seniors in our societies rises and so does the number of caregivers. If you’re not a caregiver yourself you may become one in the future — or you probably know someone who is. If you’re caring for an aging parent together with your siblings the questionnaire above will hopefully help you evaluate in which areas you may need help from your co-caregivers.
If you’re looking for more resources to help you juggle caregiving with your life, family and career, read the guides by Rick Lauber: The Successful Caregiver’s Guide and Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians. Both are available through Amazon and better bookstores across Canada and the US.