How to Become a Master HANC

by Mary Brotherton

Anyone can be a HANC but to be a Master Housekeeper, Activities Director, Nutritionist and Companion requires more than organization, dedication and patience. It requires unconditional love, keen observation, tolerance, strong listening skills and superb grounding routines.

Families often hire caregivers and nurse/companions for loved ones. While some of these employees demonstrate an extra depth of compassion or caring, when their shifts end, they gather their magazines or laptops and go home. The Master HANC does not go home, because home is where the job takes place.

Support groups can help with many aspects of caregiving, but the calling to be a Master HANC is an extraordinary opportunity to put personal goals and dreams on hold for a higher purpose. Everyone’s situation will be different, but here are some steps to lead you toward your goal.

  1. Notice a need to step up; don’t wait for someone else to offer.

Regardless of the size of your family, only one person can be the first HANC. It’s not likely you will have to compete for the position.

  1. Accept the fact that you must make personal sacrifices.

You family life will never be the same, your job and your habits will need to change. Even if you are accustomed to working remotely, while you are adjusting to your new lifestyle, your job could suffer. Be prepared to handle the changes and go with the flow. Consider contingency plans for the things you normally take for granted.

  1. Never question your choice to be a HANC.

You may fluctuate between the joy of knowing you are the best person to provide care and assistance to your loved one and wondering what happened to your reasoning powers the day you chose to become a HANC. Don’t doubt yourself. No one else will. You have embarked on a noble journey. Enjoy it.

  1. Keep building your networks.

Expand your social and personal networks and stay in contact. You never know when someone has the answer to one of your problems or concerns. It’s possible you can simply ask for help and receive it, if you have a strong network.

  1. Embrace the life-changing event as an adventure.

Whether you have made the choice to become a HANC on your own or with another person such as a spouse, partner, sibling or child; it can be a grand adventure. Never look upon it as a chore or something you “have to do,” but see it as a major opportunity in your lifetime.

  1. Recognize challenges as learning opportunities.

When the person for whom you are providing care balks at changes, seek to understand the reason behind the protest. Are you attempting to make too many changes, too quickly? Slow down and discuss the concern. You might hear an entertaining story and learn some family lore at the same time.

  1. Know that some days will present more challenges than others.

Fictional characters, such as Mary Poppins, might wake each day singing and smiling, but most people have mood swings and some have days that change from moody to worse or from dramatic to traumatic. Everyone has different ways to respond and cope. Be sure you are ready to accept the differences in each day.

  1. Remember to take a step back and breathe during challenging days.

Don’t react to negative behavior with more negative actions or words. When challenged by circumstances or harsh words, take a moment to take a deep breath and if you can, separate yourself from the situation, if only long enough to get a drink of water. Often, just walking away is enough to diffuse a potentially volatile situation.

  1. Learn something new.

Every day offers a chance for learning something. Find a new recipe, discover another way to the doctor’s office or drugstore. See if you can create a new ritual or routine for daily tasks. Read something different or listen to music you didn’t think you’d care for.

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