another New Year’s resolution article. But don’t stress. This one has nothing to do with losing weight, clearing clutter, or managing your money.
You’ll find these New Year’s resolutions for caregivers easy —even fun—to keep. Because they can help you reduce stress, live more mindfully in the new year, and take care of nagging concerns.
1. Carve out time for yourself
This often-repeated tip is first on our list for a good reason. You can’t—simply cannot—take care of young children, an aging parent, or a household if you aren’t taking care of yourself. That means your physical self and your mental health.
So schedule time to make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off. Then schedule 15 – 20 minutes a day where you do something for yourself. Not only do you deserve it, but you need it.
If you keep only one New Year’s resolution… make it this one!
2. Ask for and accept help
It’s not always easy to ask for or accept help. The sandwich generation—squeezed between younger children or teens in need of guidance and older parents with their own challenges—tends to view needing help as a sign of weakness.
It’s actually a sign of strength to recognize that you can’t do it all. And even if you have been juggling all these responsibilities by yourself, there’s no good reason to continue doing so.
Ask for help from siblings, your spouse, neighbors, or friends. Or hire in-home care if you can, to give yourself the break you need. (See resolution #1 above.)
3. Make time for fun with your aging loved one
Family caregivers tend to spend so much time on daily chores and things that must be done, they often forget to relax and enjoy the time with their loved one.
Schedule time each day where you enjoy the company of your aging parent. Take a walk. Birdwatch. Do a crossword puzzle together. Read aloud to your loved one if they have vision loss. The quality time you spend can be your guiding light when you’re struggling with the things you have to do.
4. Make sure you have the right plans in place for your aging loved one
If your aging loved one doesn’t have a living will, durable power-of-attorney, and a last will and testament set up, make an appointment to speak with an elder law attorney right after the holidays.
Having these documents in place can give you and your loved one peace-of-mind to handle emergency medical situations that may arise, as well as a sense of comfort about the inevitable future.
4. Be kind to yourself
Even as you do your best to stick to these resolutions, you will likely slip up. Maybe you haven’t made that appointment yet. Or you’re not getting to the gym every morning like you said you would.
Focus on what you’re doing right. The time you stopped folding laundry to look through an old photo album with your mother. Or said “yes” when a friend invited you for coffee. Or when a neighbor offered to take your daughter to soccer practice.
Just by being more mindful of your everyday decisions, you’re sure to see a decrease in your stress levels.
Resolve to Plan for the Future with the Best in Senior Living
As we move into the new year, it may be time to consider a move to senior living. You can speak to a Five Star Senior Living team member to find the best community for your loved one.