When I first started taking my mother-in-law to her appointments and shopping she was an early bird. She was up early and ready to go by 8 AM. She scheduled her appointments early in the day so that she could spend the remainder of the day with her hobbies, catching up on correspondence or visiting with her friends. As time progressed, however, and her physical condition deteriorated, it took much longer for her to shower, get dressed, and make breakfast at a pace that was comfortable for her. She adjusted to this by making her appointments for after 11:30 AM. This revised schedule took into account her new limitations. Now if she has an earlier appointment at 10 AM the rush to get ready takes its toll on her. She is tired from rushing or getting up much earlier than usual and her disposition is affected because she is worrying that she has forgotten something or that her appearance is not quite what she wants it to be. A caregiver has to be aware of this ever changing timeline and understand the effects the evolving physical and cognitive conditions have on the care receiver.
Another element of time a caregiver must grasp is punctuality. Being ten minutes late may have little meaning for the caregiver but for the care receiver, who has been waiting a couple of hours for their appointment, ten minutes can be an eternity. All kinds of things pop into their mind. Did they schedule incorrectly? Was there an accident? Will they make the appointment on time? Being late creates unnecessary anxiety for the care receiver and is an issue that can easily be controlled by the caregiver. Calendars, day planners, effective communication, and a call by the caregiver before they are late can greatly eliminate problems arising because of time.
-By Hello! Home Care contributing writer, Bill Mishico