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Advice for STC Group’s First Weeks


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Be realistic. You will not be able to solve everything needed in the first week.

Prioritize. Handle the most important jobs first: medical issues (doctor appointments, getting prescriptions filled, making sure diet is being addressed, taking meds), food shopping and meals, support of children or elderly person in family, and home safety.

Deal with money issues up front. How will the group be reimbursed or get the funds to pay for groceries, and other expenses? Create a “slush fund jar” with patient’s available cash and ask members to put (initialed) receipts back in the jar–or find another way to track expenses. Is there a need to raise money if patient has very little?

Find out diet restrictions and food preferences BEFORE people start preparing meals. Avoid making meals and treats the person/family cannot eat, is allergic to, or dislikes.

Continually think about others who might be able to help or join the group. Club friends, faith community, etc. Always be on the lookout for these folks, who can help in a pinch..

Research free services in the community that can supplement the efforts of the group especially if it is small. Contact the local Department of Health, or Department of Aging. Local Meals on Wheels. The ALS Association or American Cancer Society or other relevant organizations.

Start to create a plan for long-term issues such as: the patient and their family are scheduled to move in two months, or their son needs to visit perspective colleges in the fall, or the patient will eventually need a wheelchair and a ramp, or the spouse needs to return to work.

Don’t promise more than you can deliver. Don’t feel guilty if you are not Superman or Superwoman. Everything the group can do will make a huge difference.  As a caregiver you cannot afford to become ill or overwhelmed. Take good care of yourself.

Tell the people, as you come into contact with them, about the group and what you are doing. The doctor’s receptionist, pharmacist, mailman, the building super or the doorman.  Be friendly–learn their names to help insure that things move along smoothly. These people may go out of their way to help you out just when you need it the most.

Support your fellow caregivers and get to know them. A positive attitude can breed a warm sense of collaboration among the group members. Stop and chat with others when changing shifts or after doing a job together. Share experiences and feelings. You are building what might well be some amazing lasting friendships.

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