Top Seven Resolutions for Caregivers in the New Year
If you’re one of the nearly 34 million Americans who care for an older loved one, you may neglect your own health and well-being. Many caregivers forego their own self-care, which can have negative effects on both the caregiver and the person being cared for. Caregiving can be a highly challenging task and it’s important for both you and your loved one to ensure your needs are being met. Here are some ideas for some ways to make 2020 a great year!
Create a wellness plan for yourself
Many caregivers report experiencing stress as a results of taking care of someone else. People who take action to combat stress as opposed to ignoring it are better able to deal with the added challenges in their lives. This can include exercise, meditation, attending medical appointments and keeping in close contact with friends and family members.
Make your limitations known
You can’t be expected to do everything for your loved one. Establish boundaries with the person you’re caring for and suggest alternatives when you’ve not available. Ask your loved one to give you a list of names of people who may be able to provide occasional care for them. This many include other family members, neighbors and local volunteers.
Be gentle with yourself
Caregiving can bring up all kinds of emotions, including guilt, anger, and sadness. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up without shame. If you can, find a friend, therapist, counselor or faith leader to share your feelings with.
Create some “me time”
Taking care of someone else requires a great deal of self-care. It’s all too easy to get caught up in your caregiving role, and letting other things slide – spending time with family and friends, exercising, or continuing your healthcare regimen. But being a good caregiver means taking care of yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It’s important to continue doing those things that make life worth living – whether that’s taking your child to the park or catching up with a friend over lunch.
Take time out for a “spa day” or visiting a place you’ve never been to. Being in a new place can provide one with a new outlook on life and treating yourself to something special can provide the spark to keep you going.
Seek out local assistance organizations
As America’s population is aging, numerous local resources are popping up to help take on the burden of caring for them. Local senior service providers, senior centers, churches and programs such as Meals on Wheels are all available to help you with the challenges you’re facing, often free of charge.
Consider getting help
A LifeCare Advocates life care manager can help provide assistance in assessing your loved one’s needs and finding the resources for both them and for you in your role as caregiver. We can be involved as much or as little as you like, customizing our programs to fit you and your loved one’s specific situation.