Steven willing has been the principal caregiver to his parents Becky and Art who are both in their 90’s. His parents recently moved into a Veteran’s building that offers amazing programs and services. According to Steven: “Caregiving is a tough full time job that takes great patience, organizational skills and well-honed social skills.” Leveraging his business skills, Steven looks at their care, happiness and safety as projects or problems to solve.
Steven firmly believes that caregivers need to be organized, create a care plan and then be open and willing to change the plan as required. He is always evaluating how things are going and ready to adopt and make changes as his parents needs change. He is constantly “working the system”, speaking with social workers, making important contacts and maximizing the available resources. “I am always looking, asking questions on how to get the most support while also respecting the overworked health care staff”. Steven has seen many families behaving badly to the staff and knows that kindness and respect for them goes a long way to creating a good working relationship with them. His suggestion to others is to think of the health care workers as part of the team, not the enemy. According to Steven: “Praising the staff, rather than “dumping all over them, will go a lot further”.
Steven has two brothers, Rick and Norman with whom he communicates with regularly. Although both brothers live out of town, they have worked out a schedule for visiting which allows Steven to take a break and keep some balance in his life.
Steven’s patience and time management skills are especially important when it comes to taking either parent shopping or to appointments. As Steven says: “Everything takes half a day. Even if it is a 15 minute doctor’s appointment, I know that this will take 2-3 hours. It is always interesting to watch new caregivers who have not yet learned or accepted that it takes hours to do one outing.”
Steven is honoured and proud to care for his parents. We are sure his parents and the rest of his family are equally thankful of his efforts.