New Year’s resolutions: we love to create them, and can’t help but break them. Perhaps you’ve been energized to eat better, lose those stubborn five pounds, give up a bad habit or exercise more regularly. But life has a way of disrupting our best intentions, and this is particularly true for family members serving as caregivers for a senior loved one.
To make a real difference in quality of life for both yourself and the senior for whom you provide care, and to find out a New Year’s resolution you’ll actually want to adhere to in the months and years to come, try one of these recommendations we share with all our clients and their families:
Be thankful – to yourself. Recognize the tremendous selflessness required in caring for another, and make a point to reward yourself with regular, small rewards as a thank-you: a favorite treat from the bakery, lunch ordered in, the latest book from your favorite author, fresh cut flowers or whatever makes you smile.
Take time for self-care. Airplane emergency instructions stress the need to verify your oxygen mask is on before helping someone else, and this principle is also true on land. Caring for yourself allows you to provide the best quality care for your loved one. So keep regular medical checkups, get plenty of rest, and ensure you’re eating a diet that is balanced.
Seek out support. Finding a support group for family caregivers, particularly one for a condition that your particular loved one is battling, such as Alzheimer’s disease, lets you understand you’re not on your own. The Internet provides a wealth of resources for online support groups if going to in-person meetings proves difficult.
Release emotions. Providing care for someone else can be an emotional rollercoaster, from fear to anger to frustration to helplessness. It’s important to find a safe and effective release for these emotions, through journaling or talking with a trusted friend or counselor, for instance.
Request help. No man – or caregiver – is an island, and you can find plenty of willing friends, neighbors, and other family members who would like to provide support, if only asked. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to accept their assistance.
Aaging Better In-Home Care is also available to partner with you with trusted in-home senior care. Our respite care services provide families with caring employees who are completely trained and experienced in a number of aspects of home care:
Personal care, such as bathing and dressing
House care, such as light housework and laundry
Companion care, including participating in conversation, playing cards and games, and sharing in hobbies and interests
And far more, according to each senior’s individual needs
If you are finding that caring for your elderly loved one has been a challenge throughout these past months or past year, we invite you to call for a free in-home assessment to discuss how we might help provide you a respite while caring for your loved one in this coming New Year. Give us a call to find out more!