The role of a family caregiver is one of a juggler trying to keep all balls in the air. This is one description captured in a recent global study on family caregivers taking care of elders while also juggling other responsibilities like work and childcare. Another study points to the growing number of family caregivers age 50-plus who are caring for an aging parent or grandparent. These older adult caregivers may also be caring for grandchildren.
As a labor of love, caregiving can potentially improve someone’s quality of life through heightened satisfaction and fortified family bonds. However, many family caregivers experience caregiver stress and burnout that negatively impacts their mental well-being and physical health.
The turn of the year is an ideal time for family caregivers to take the opportunity for self-reflection and goal setting, especially for those who are juggling many obligations while selflessly devoting themselves to taking care of aging loved ones. For family caregivers, this new year’s resolutions may involve their own self-care regimen to maintain their physical health, mental well-being, and caregiving effectiveness in their crucial role.
If you are a family caregiver, you are encouraged to try any of the following seven resolutions that can help streamline your responsibilities and promote a healthier, more satisfying caregiving journey.
- Prioritize Self-Care to Be a Healthy Caregiver
Self-care is essential, but it is often the first thing that care providers sacrifice. For 2022, prioritize creating and committing to a self-care plan. This could involve regular exercise, time for relaxation, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, or activities that you enjoy and let you relax. By taking care of your physical and mental health, you’ll be in a better position to care for others.
- Seek Out a Caregiver Support Group
Family caregiving is demanding — and you are not alone. This year, pledge to seek support when you need it. Joining caregiver support groups, consulting with a therapist, or even sharing feelings with friends and family can provide significant emotional relief and valuable insights.
- Delegate Caregiving Tasks or Seek Respite Care
Handing over some care tasks to other family members or hiring home care assistance is not a failure. In fact, it’s a prudent way to ensure your loved one gets the best care without draining you completely. This year, consider delegating or sharing responsibilities where you can.
Also give thought to pursuing respite care which provides a short-term break for a family caregiver while a professional caregiver looks after the senior loved one.
- Focus on Patience as a Carer
Patience is a virtue, particularly for family caregivers who work with aging loved ones affected by progressive conditions such as dementia or by chronic illnesses affecting their mobility or overall health. This year, resolve to cultivate patience as a family caregiver. Remember, it’s a practice — so be patient with yourself, too!
- Embrace Virtual Caregiver Technology
Numerous caregiving apps and devices can make your daily caregiving routine easier. They range from medication reminder apps, health tracking apps, to wearable devices and emergency alert systems. This year, make it a goal to understand and embrace the technology that can assist you. At Amada Senior Care, our suite of virtual caregiving and medication management tools designed for seniors aging in place can help support both hands-on family caregivers and those who live far from their senior loved one. CLICK HERE to learn more about Amada Connect.
- Practice Active Listening as a Caregiver
In caregiving, communication is key. This year, strengthen your active listening skills as a family caregiver. This means fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and then remembering what’s being said. It can also involve non-verbal communication–watching for signs of discomfort, anxiety, or joy on your loved one’s face.
- Celebrate Small Victories in Caregiving
Caregiving is a journey with many ups, downs, and steady days. Commemorate small victories in caregiving, whether that’s a day when your loved one’s spirits are high, a diagnosis that provides clarity, or even managing to carve out some time to care for yourself. This creates an atmosphere of gratitude and positivity.
The challenges faced by family caregivers may seem daunting, but know that every step made towards these goals is its own success. If you are a family caregiver, take this turn of the year as a starting point to embark on a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling caregiving journey. Remember that you’re not alone, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Amada Senior Care for the help you need, whether you are considering respite care or need guidance on your senior loved one’s Long-Term Care insurance policy or Veterans Affairs benefits. We are here to help! CLICK HERE to find an Amada office near you.
“7 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers,” edited by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.