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The Art of Care
Posted By AARP Caregiving Team On September 13, 2013 @ 8:44 am In Take Care | Comments Disabled
Balancing care for a loved one  with medical professionals, residential staff or home health employees can get complicated quickly. Defining your role as a care partner can be difficult. How do you let go and trust “those professionals”? How do you know who should take the lead and when?
I’ve cared for my mother with dementia over 30 years and my father with brain cancer  for 4 ½ years. During this period, I found myself standing at a crossroads several times over care standards. I was raised to believe professionals know best. That’s why you hire them, right? But is that always true?
RELATED: AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center 
I have found the saying, “The doctor knows best,” has not always been accurate. In fact, in one specific case with my father it could have cost him his life, because I know my father in ways the doctors didn’t. I say this to help you appreciate the knowledge you have and responsibility you hold as a caregiver .
Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to listen to your inner barometer. You know that inner voice that screams at you and turns your stomach into a knot. It’s important to remember that although professionals have special training, they don’t know your loved one like you do. They don’t know those little things that can make big differences. Like what’s “normal” for them? What do they like or don’t like? What causes them fear or ignites joy? Your role as a care partner is a critical one, because your knowledge can make a difference.
Your voice needs to heard, acknowledged and taken seriously. To be on an even playing field with “those professionals” and protect your loved one, you need proper documentation  – such as multiple copies of original powers of attorney , healthcare declarations, living wills . These documents will help guide you to provide the best possible care for your loved one. So complete them early in the process. Don’t wait for a crisis, when it may be too late to get them signed.
Families and professionals working as a collaborative team  must have a care plan that includes:
In my personal experience, some of the most beneficial and beautiful collaborations came through difficult decisions with miraculous outcomes because we had mutual goals.
– Lori La Bey
Lori La Bey is part of the Caregiving Blog Team. She is the founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks , an advocacy-based company providing a variety of FREE Resource  for those dealing with dementia. Twitter handle: @AlzSpks 
Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/09/13/caregiving-collaboration-to-help-a-parents/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AARP-Danielle-Lori-Mom.-2png.png
 care for a loved one: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 home health employees : http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-08-2012/hiring-at-home-caregiver.html?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 dementia : http://search.aarp.org/browse?Ntt=dementia
 brain cancer: http://search.aarp.org/browse?Ntt=brain+cancer
 caregiver: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/planning-and-resources/
 proper documentation: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/legal-and-money-matters/?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 powers of attorney: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-11-2010/lfm_financial_power_of_attorney.html?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 healthcare declarations, living wills: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-11-2010/lfm_living_will_and_health_care_power_of_attorney.html
 collaborative team: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-12-2011/set-up-caregiving-team.html?cmp=SN-BLOG-PJS
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AARP-Lori_closeup-stamp-size.png
 Alzheimer’s Speaks: http://www.AlzheimersSpeaks.com
 FREE Resource: http://alzheimersspeaks.com/free-tools-information
 @AlzSpks: http://twitter.com/AlzSpks
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