At one Quality time or another, we can all be called upon to take care of a loved one: a child, an aging parent, a disabled family member, or a friend who has been temporarily disabled following a fracture, for example. These situations are familiar to us.
Being a caregiver can be rewarding because it’s human nature to care for others. Often the person we care for is very important to us. But you have to admit it: it can be exhausting. “It’s not just about being there when the person is sick,” says Matt Wren. Father of five children, he works full time and has to take care of his aging parents. Indeed, he is one of the 8.1 million people in the United States considered to be volunteer caregivers. Appointments, pharmacy visits, planning, and family discussions can take up a lot of time. The mental load intensifies when we have more tasks and responsibilities to manage.
Is time really on our side?
In general, our days are defined by the clock. We have one hour to eat, sleep, train, and even relax. Do you find that time moves faster as you get older? You are not the only one. “Nearly all humans intuitively know that time is relative – because it seems to pass much faster with age 2. So, knowing that over the years, our responsibilities as caregiver’s increase, how can we manage to do more tasks during the same hours of the day?
We need help, tools, resources, and solutions to find time to focus on the more enjoyable aspects of caregiving.
Tasks take time
You wouldn’t change your place for anything in the world when your children cuddle up to you or you feel your mother’s grateful embrace. “Children become angels when they are sick. They show you their affection when you comfort them. You are simply there for them. Matt says that you feel like you are assisting them.
Spending quality time with the people you care for and fully enjoying those times together gives you pleasure as a caregiver. Things get complicated, however, when you have to take care of the logistics: picking up and accompanying your loved ones to appointments, coordinating schedules, and managing prescriptions.
All of these tasks take time. Luckily, some tools could make your life cooler. “If you can, for example, save yourself another trip to the pharmacy, that’s already less,” says Matt, thinking about the planning tools who is using it. Caregivers can use resources like shared calendars on a cell phone or the TELUS psychological healthcare app, for help in organizing to care for their families. These tools allow them to release the mental load to enjoy and spend more quality time with their loved ones.
It’s all about autonomy
As a caregiver, you want to encourage your child to become independent or help an older member of your family maintain their independence. Matt’s father is self-sufficient enough to take care of him; however, he had difficulty remembering whether he had taken his daily medication. I selected to utilize MedPack for my dad – he takes only two or three drugs; now he may effortlessly see if he has taken his medicine or not. Matt further adds that’s one less thing to worry about.
The MedPacks have allowed Matt’s father to maintain his independence and gave Matt peace of mind. The sachets, packaged and shipped, are marked and include instructions to make taking the medication easier. Matt now knows that his father takes his medication diligently. As for his father, he is proud to be able to take his medication and to know that he can consult his pharmacist if necessary.
Collaboration is essential
As a caregiver, it is significant to understand that you are not alone. “I’m not the only one looking after my parents. My brother and sister also help. Matt says that we all try to be on the same page.
Even parents can usually rely on a network to help them care for their children. The Transformation Health app allows a user’s profile to be shared privately with a trusted network. So, in Matt’s case, his parents can choose to share their profile with their other children so that they are all informed at the same Quality time and aware of side effects, prescription renewals, and new medications, among others. “Now we don’t all have to be there on the dates. We all can receive the medication information and retrieve the profile to show the medication to the doctor. We can access the profile and add notes and a nickname that my parents will understand,” Matt concludes.
If being a caregiver is a full-time job, it shouldn’t take up all your Quality time. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the creation and adoption of digital tools that can make life easier for caregivers. Here are some examples:
- Shareable family calendars
- Virtual medical consultation apps like My TELUS Health Care
- Virtual pharmacy apps like TELUS Health Virtual Pharmacy
- Symptom tracking
- Caregiver support groups
It can be difficult to learn something new, but using a tool to help you manage your time can bring great relief. The TELUS Health Virtual Pharmacy app allows you to share information and spend less time waiting for prescriptions from family members. Download it now and enjoy benefits such as prescription renewals, doctor’s prescriptions sent by fax (no more misplaced papers), home deliveries, etc.