January 29, 2019
A Guide to Caregivers' New Year's Resolutions
A Guide to Caregivers’ New Year’s Resolutions
Would you like to become a happier, healthier caregiver in 2019? Pick two or three items from the “caregiver resolutions” list below. Some are quick and easy; others are more long-term goals. Share the second list with your friends and family – it’s a gentle way to encourage their help and support.
- Get enough rest. Find ways to ensure that you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. What daily activities can you cut out or delegate to make more time for rest? Can you get help from friends or family?
- Delegate. Prepare a list of caregiving activities you could use help with. When someone offers to help, refer to the list. Better yet, determine who might help you with each task and then ask for help.
- Take 10 minutes, or 15, or more. Commit to doing at least one thing you enjoy or need every day. This might mean meditating, reading, walking, listening to music, or sewing — whatever restores your spirit.
- Be kind to yourself. Shake off any self-doubt or guilt that you aren’t doing all you could be doing. Remind yourself daily that you’re doing the best you can for your loved one and your family.
- Make and keep preventive care appointments. You can’t take good care of your loved one if you aren’t feeling well yourself. Be sure to keep important doctor’s appointments like mammograms and prostate screenings.
- Get papers organized. Make sure your loved one’s important papers are in order now. Discuss and document medical treatment options using an advance directive. Work with your loved one to establish a durable power of attorney for healthcare, providing copies to all healthcare providers.
- Give thanks. If a friend or family member spent time with your loved one during the holidays or helped you with any of your tasks, be sure to send a quick note expressing your thanks. It’ll encourage more help in the year ahead.
How Friends and Family Can Help
- Go beyond one-time help. Find repeatable ways to help the caregiver in your life. Ideas include shoveling the sidewalk, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, providing rides to appointments, and preparing or delivering a meal.
- Provide emotional support. Set up a weekly time to call or visit your caregiving friend or family member. Try to provide a comfortable way for him or her to vent frustrations or to simply stay connected.
- Be an exercise buddy. Regular exercise does wonders for caregivers’ stress levels. Commit to regular walks, trips to the gym, or gardening with your family member or friend.
- Help with home safety. Provide peace of mind by helping to make the care recipient’s home safer. If you’re handy (or know someone who is), offer to help make any changes needed, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or adding more lights.
- Establish a weekly practice. If possible, find one activity you can do every week for the caregiver. Ideas: take the care recipient to church, watch him or her for a couple of hours at the same time every week, or pick up medications.
- Cold, hard cash. Can’t be there in person to help your sister? Don’t underestimate the power of money to cover caregiving costs, including respite care that will let her take the breaks she needs.
- Bon voyage! Help finance or arrange a vacation, including the necessary substitute care. Even helping your family member or friend get away for a night or two can make a big difference.
Need help for yourself or someone in your care? For more information, call us at (855) 867-4692 or click here for more about hospice EveryStep Hospice or home care options EveryStep Home Care. EveryStep’s hospice and home care programs provide care and support to patients, family members and their caregivers through chronic or serious illness, recovery or rehabilitation. Our experienced and compassionate staff can assist family caregivers in understanding the importance of nutrition, exercise, social ties, mental and spiritual health, and how all these things can contribute to wellbeing for individuals of all ages.