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Dr. Cynthia Hickman was a registered nurse for 27 years. She’s also the founder and CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, a platform educating people to be proactive and mindful of our aging population.
In this episode of Motivational Mondays, she shares her story about becoming a full-time caregiver and what she learned that can help others.
What surprised Dr. Hickman about caregiving
Dr. Hickman spent 27 years as a nurse in acute care cardiology before quitting her job to become her mother’s full-time caregiver. She thought the transition would be easy, but struggled when she realized that she was her mother’s sole caregiver.
Her first challenge was anticipating and getting the supplies she’d need at her fingertips. Dr. Hickman notes that you have to look at your aging parents, see what’s occurring, and determine how to navigate the situation. When you think proactively, you can anticipate what could occur.
Educating yourself on the healthcare system
Most people only think about the physical aspects of being a caregiver but you also need to focus on medical care. Dr. Hickman’s mom had heart failure, so she knew exactly how to care for her since she was familiar with cardiology.
If a parent has a medical condition you’re unfamiliar with, you need to educate yourself in order to care for them. As a nurse, Dr. Hickman learned how to make subjective and objective observations. When someone tells you how they’re feeling, it's subjective. But when you observe something's not right, it’s objective and you must act.
A resource guide for caregivers
Dr. Hickman wrote The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers to cover the importance of tangible information. If you’re the one making medical decisions, there are things you need at your fingertips to provide proper care, such as:
Important phone numbers (doctors, family members, hospitals, etc.)
Your charge’s date of birth, social security number, and other pieces of identification
Access to banking and financial information to pay for their care
Many people don’t want to think about these things until they’re faced with them. Watching someone’s health decline is difficult but you can make the process more bearable if you’re prepared. After all, how would you want someone to treat you if you’re the one who's depending on them?
Listen to this episode to learn about...
[1:14] Dr. Hickman’s experience becoming a full-time caregiver
[3:34] What surprised her about the journey of caregiving
[9:43] How her work inspired Corey in his family’s situation
[11:43] Her first book, which was inspired by her mom
[14:28] Why you need to educate yourself on the healthcare system
[18:07] Why you must pay close attention to your elderly loved ones
[19:18] Her new resource guide for caregivers
Listen to the bonus episode to learn the importance of discussing caregiving plans with our loved ones and why it's never too early or late to talk about it.