Caregiving Begins With Knowledge. What Comes Next?

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

An efficient, supportive and understanding caregiving environment is one in which the entire burden doesn’t fall on only one person, but on a team of interconnected individuals. The process of creating such an environment starts with knowing what to do.

But this is only the beginning. It also takes focused intention and the confidence to act, to put what we’ve learned into practice. 

Atlas CareMaps: Where Do We Go From Here?

By creating a hand-drawn visual illustration of a caregiver’s ecosystem, Atlas CareMaps have provided clarity for many overwhelmed caregivers. Atlas CareMaps promote a deeper level of understanding to the complex caregiving networks many Americans navigate daily. They also enable family caregivers to tell their story from a slightly more objective perspective.

The CareMap is a powerful tool. The CareMap Workshops that we have been piloting in Santa Barbara and across the country with AARP support have helped us to teach many people these skills.

What are the next steps after creating a CareMap? How can caregivers apply insights from their CareMaps to understand how to improve their daily lives?  

After learning the benefits of creating a CareMap and drawing one to represent specific caregiving realities, it is time to learn how to put the insights into action.

Once you have completed the drawing of your CareMap, a few key questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Who are the most important people in my CareMap?
  2. What would happen if one of them was unavailable? (If, for example, they have to go out of town; or they get sick themselves?)
  3. Is there a backup plan? Who could step in? Would they be prepared?
  4. Do the different people in my caregiving network know all of the others involved, as well as what each of them is doing/capable of doing? Would it help if they each had a better understanding of each other?
  5. Are there other family members, friends or neighbors who could help if needed? What’s needed to get them involved?
  6. Are there important services or professionals currently missing? How could this help be obtained?
  7. How has the caregiving situation changed or evolved over time, whether positively or negatively? One month ago; one year ago; five years ago?