Caregiver Tools/FAQs

Questions Caregivers Frequently ask Diana B. Denholm, Ph.D. LMHC

Q. What is the 24 Question Planning Guide?

A. Even in households with the best communication, some issues are daunting to raise. Avoiding these issues results in increased stress and growing resentment toward our loved one, ourselves, and others. Unfortunately, those stresses and resentments may lead to a diminished quality of life for both, emotional and physical exhaustion and illness for us, and even emotional and physical abuse of our loved one by us!

Issues may be uncomfortable, and we have no clue about how to raise them. Any conversation about these difficult topics takes thoughtful preparation. The more difficult the topic, the more thoughtful preparation is needed. This preparation is a six-step process. The first step is using the 24-Question Planning Guide. This includes 24 prompts (cues, suggestions, ideas) to brainstorm with yourself and to write your responses, for yours eyes only. Nothing that affects you is off-limits for your list. The issues don’t have to be related to health or dying. Whether it is a toilet seat that stays up, disrespectful behavior, the annoying in-laws who stick their noses into your business, or crumbs in the bed: If it bothers you, it should be put on your list. You should include as many items as you like.

 Here are 24 prompts to help you sort out your concerns:

1. I am angry about the following things...

2. I am frustrated about or with...

3. What really annoys me is...

4. What I hate the most is...

5. I’m angry with myself about...

6. I’m afraid that...

7. I’m afraid of...

8. I need to know...

9. I feel guilty about...

10. I want to do these things for my husband...

11. I don’t want to do these things for my husband...

12. I don’t think I can...

13. I want him to...

14. I don’t want him to...

15. What am I supposed to do about...

16. What do I do when...

17. Why does he...

18. Why doesn’t he...

19. What do I say to people about...

20. What concerns me a lot is...

21. I don’t know how to...

22. I don’t expect anything to be done about this, but I want

      you to know...

23. This is something I need to say to you...

24. And something else I really want to say is...

Want to learn what to do next? I've helped countless couples work through their most troubling issues using the six-step process I developed, which is the subject of my new book, The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook. If you're a caregiver, or know one, who's terrified to talk about driving, self-care, money, sex, end-of-life issues, or any other touchy and delicate subject with a seriously ill partner, take heart. There IS a way to regain love in your marriage.

Note: 24 Question Planning Guide excerpted from The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook

 

Q:  I have a friend who is a caregiver. What should I do for her?

A.  Joan’s brother has Parkinson's.  Joan watched her sister-in-law, Sandy, struggle to be the perfect caregiver – even taking special courses to learn what to expect down the road.  Joan wanted to help in some way, but was a little afraid of imposing on her sister-in-law’s privacy.  Finally she decided that giving her The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook couldn’t hurt.  When the book arrived at Sandy’s house, she immediately wrote Joan to thank her. She said: “Even though I’ve just glanced at a few pages and the cover, I know this book is going to help me, because I know that the author and the others she interviewed have all been there  - and SURVIVED IT! Sandy soon learned like the other ladies, that her life and her marriage were not over.