3 Ways to Prepare Your Special Needs Family
How to begin to prepare for unknown tomorrows
My biggest recommendation (if I were to make one) would be to meet with us so we can devise a plan for those unknown tomorrows ahead. However, if you are too far away – or simply dont want to see my smiling face – here are some steps you could take.
Everyone has a plan for the future until life happens. Ive learned many lessons in my life. Some of these lessons have come with a great deal of pain pain that made me stronger. The gift (among many other gifts) that these painful situations created was something that rarely can be purchased in a store or found in a book (or even an internet article). This gift is perspective.
If Ive learned one thing from my perspective as a father to my son, husband to my wife, and supporter of hundreds of special needs families, it is this:
Life does not always go how we expect.
There was a time where I was trying so hard to be strong amidst all the change that was happening (for many years in a row) around me. Over time, I learned that being strong has much less to do with standing like a stone wall; being strong sometimes means being flexible allowing oneself to go from tears to hysterical laugher in sixty seconds.
Strength can sometimes be shown by being able, willing, and ready to roll with what life gives us. Im not the expert on that but I have a bit of experience.
Seriously though, I do hope that youll come into my office so we can talk about you and your family. However, if for some reason that is not in the cards for us at this time, Ive found these basic steps to be of some value to families. Dont use these as the end-all to help your family plan for the unknown future I simply hope this will be a starting point.
Step One: Gather Some Family History
Do you know your spouses birth date (including year)? How about those of their parents? Its questions like these that can sometimes create some amusing (and some not amusing) family arguments. There is so much information about ones family that could be useful for successive caregivers for your special needs family member.
Create a single piece of paper and list his or her parents and grandparents. Include full names (and maiden names where appropriate), birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, and medical issues (including, if appropriate, the cause of death). Dont forget to include information about siblings as well. Consider writing some basic information about best friends, etc.
Step Two: Write a Daily Routine
Where is the most important information located?
Youve probably been living your life with your special needs family member for some time now. What are the daily routines? When do they rise in the morning? How do they rise? What self-care steps are taken throughout the day? Are these self-managed?
Consider keeping a pad of paper with you for one full day, writing down all that is done within the average days routine. You may be surprised to see all that goes into a single day, or maybe you wont. J
Step Three: Write a Letter of Love
What are your wishes for your special needs family member? Do you feel that any stranger could walk in and follow those wishes without you present? Consider writing a short letter explaining your hopes and dreams for your family member. Express your wishes in writing so that others could benefit from this in the future.
The above should not be taken as a comprehensive, end-all plan for your special needs family member. Truly, speaking with someone who has experience working with families like yours is best. Consider making an appointment with us.
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