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Tools and techniques for Parents and Carers part 2

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Mind Map Sample

This is the second in a series of articles on tools and techniques that I found most useful. The previous article was on focussing your effort and this one covers planning.

Plan effectively

When you are caring for someone with complex needs there tends to be appointments in many different places, and many different people to deal with.  You can end up having to organise finances, benefits and assistance as well.
If you don’t plan well it can quickly become overwhelming.
It’s useful to take a bit of time out to think about the effort you are putting into caring is heading.
I find this is a useful process to follow:

  1. Get the real sense of where you would like to be in a few years time in terms of improving or stabilising the situation. I do this by imagining the future is laid out on the floor in front of me.  I walk to a point in the future (usually a year to 5 years) in the future and think about what I want to be seeing, hearing and feeling at that time. It helps to use all these senses to make the goal feel real and realistic.
  2. Plan backwards. Once I have a sense of where I want to be I walk back from this goal and get a sense of where key milestones are leading up to it. I ask “what will already had to happen by now and what is still left to do at each key milestone” I walk all the way back to where I imagine the present is.
  3. Making a note of the goals, and the milestones gives a sense of priority and also motivation to make them happen. It helps to plan this way as you get to really think about what you are looking to achieve and also be realistic about how to get there, as opposed to simply focusing on the next things to do.

Invest time now to manage multiple contacts and resources.

It pays dividends to plan for the things that will save you time in the long run for example:
You tell the history of the person you care for a lot. It often wears you out and takes up valuable time.  My solution is to write it down and print it off to take it to all the appointments we have, as well as recent case history notes and summaries and reports. (Often these won’t have got to all involved).
I also map out who everyone involved in the care is and give this out as well – I use a mind map which is diagram like the one image only showing how the people are connected.

I also use colour coded list of contacts with contact details to make it easy to see who is connected and need to liaise with regard to making decisions. These tasks don’t take that long but save you a lot of repetition and energy in the long run.

In my next article I will discuss how to influence others and ask for what you need.

Toby Buckle

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