HomeCaregiversHow to prepare myself for my new caregiving role?Caregiver Self-Assessments

1.2. Caregiver Self-Assessments

Caregiver Self-Assessments

How are YOU?

Family caregivers often think so much about caring for someone else that they forget about themselves. Your health is important. The National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Medical Association have developed the Caregiver Self-Assessment Tool, a short quiz to help you decide whether to talk to a doctor about how caregiving-related stress might be affecting your health.

A Personal SWOT Analysis

Have you ever heard of a SWOT analysis? It is something that is done at work to assess a company or organization's ability to change, or move forward. It is one of the first steps in strategic planning.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. To get a handle on your life as a family caregiver, to begin to take charge, to find ways to cope with your fears, to determine what choices you have, you might consider conducting your own personal SWOT analysis.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. These are characteristics that are intrinsic to who we are. Some of them may be physical, some intellectual, some an innate part of our personality. They may change over time, or a perceived strength may be an asset in one situation and a liability in another.

Have you ever thought about your strengths and weakness in terms of your caregiving situation? If you haven't done it yet, you might consider making two lists:

List Number One:
Write down what you see as your strengths and what impact each one has, or could have, on your ability to be a successful family caregiver.

List Number Two:
Write down your perceived weaknesses and the consequences they have, or could have, on your caregiving.

These lists can help you sort out in which areas you could really use some assistance or advice.

Opportunities and threats come from the outside. A retirement community is being built two miles from your house, or your husband's employer will let him work from home two days a week. These are obviously opportunities that in the right circumstances could be the answer to your prayers. Threats can range from a potential loss of health insurance to the fact that you live in an old two-story house that would require extensive, and expensive, renovation to make it handicap accessible.

Can you think of what opportunities you currently can take advantage of or what threats you need to find ways to work around or somehow get rid of? A personal SWOT analysis is a place to begin to think about questions such as these, and it is one of the arrows in your quiver of resources to help you take charge of your life. Think of it as a 'living document', one that will change as you and your circumstances do. It can be a useful tool throughout your caregiving career, not just at the outset.

©2004 National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving

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