As we head in to a new year, worn out family caregivers might be feeling anything but reinvigorated. Being responsible for the care of an aging loved one can be exhausting—physically, financially, and emotionally. In fact, 23% of family caregivers say their own health has suffered. After just five years of being a family caregiver, they rate their own health as fair or poor.
Make 2018 the year that you resolve to care for yourself, too.
Here are a few ways you can do that.
6 Resolutions for a Family Caregiver to Make in 2018
- Accept Help: Spouses and adult children often think caring for their loved one means doing it all on their own. They look at caregiving as a duty to their parent or partner.
A healthier way to look at the role of family caregiver is this: if you don’t accept a little help now, you might end up experiencing a health crisis that prevents you from taking care of your loved one at all.
- See Your Doctor: One thing many family caregivers have in common is that they’ve let their own wellness screenings and annual physicals slide. Set a goal to see your physician early in 2018 to get back on track.
- Stay Active: Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress. That’s important for all of us. But it’s also something that can easily fall to the bottom of a busy caregiver’s to-do list.
The good news is you can break exercise up in to smaller increments so it is easier to fit in to your day. You’ll reap the same rewards as 30 continuous minutes of exercise. It might be a 15-minute walk in the morning with the senior you are a caregiver for and another 15 minutes of yoga later in the day.
Talk with your physician for advice.
- Eat Healthy: Convenience foods and take-out often make up the bulk of a weary caregiver’s diet. But there are other options that are fast and nutritious. Consider a meal delivery program like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Everything you need to prepare well-balanced meals will be delivered right to your front door once each week.
- Stay Connected: Isolation is a battle many caregivers wage, especially if their loved one has mobility challenges or Alzheimer’s disease. It can lead to depression and burnout in a family caregiver.
In the new year, resolve to get out more often and to find other ways to stay connected from home. Skype, Facebook, and even text messaging might help you feel more in touch with the world around you.
Respite care at a senior care community might also help. Your loved one can spend a few days being pampered while you enjoy a getaway with friends and loved ones.
- Find Support Among Peers: Having the support of people who are experiencing similar struggles can help you navigate your way through the caregiving experience. An easy way to do this when you are busy is to connect with an online support group. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a good resource for finding one.
Answers to Your Senior Care Questions
Do you have questions about senior living?
The Harbor Chase “FAQ” page can be a great resource! We tackle topics ranging from house physicians to wheelchairs and walkers.