December 31, 2015 by Renata J. Maslowski
Caregivers of seniors are often so focused on the needs of the older adult that they forget to care for themselves. As we end this year, Ingleside Homes offers twelve suggestions for resolutions for caregivers. That’s only one promise or resolution for each month of the next year, giving every chance for success!
We found a good list of resolutions and expanded it to monthly activities.
Promise # 1:
In January, start off right by making a list of your caregiving goals. Will you be making visits to senior living communities, meeting with home healthcare agencies, or finding out about transportation options? Starting with a plan at the beginning of the year will reduce your stress when a situation comes up later.
Promise # 2:
In February, many events focus on general health and heart health. While you are making appointments for your seniors, make your own at the same time. Many caregivers forego their own needs to provide care to others, but keeping yourself in top shape gives you more energy to share your strength with others.
Promise # 3:
In March, we are getting ready for tax season. This is the perfect time to also check your senior loved one’s finances. Consult with experts and meet with the State Department for Aging to identify ways to make the money last. Many Senior Centers have presentations by experts. See our list of local Senior Centers in Delaware to find a center near you.
Promise # 4:
In April, find and read an inspirational book for new ideas. Learn more about how to cope with your senior’s specific disease or condition. Local libraries have great resources and they often have presenters that come to share topics of interest. Depending on the program content, you may even want to attend a program with your senior. Seeing others in similar situations can bring insights to your own circumstances and comfort that you are not alone.
Promise # 5:
In May, join a support group! These groups may meet in person, through phone calls and online. Find one that fits your schedule best and make a point to attend regularly. If you are a working caregiver, check with your Human Resources department for programs and caregiver networks within your company.
Promise # 6:
In June, there are more daylight hours, so make sure to take time out of every day to care of you. An early morning stroll, sitting outside with a cool drink or meeting a friend for lunch are all great self care ideas. These little breaks will refresh you, so you can go on caring for your senior.
Promise # 7:
In July, go on vacation with your family or friends. It is important to maintain balance between your family, work and caregiving lives. There are many services that offer respite or short stays for your senior relative, which would enable you to travel and know that your senior is safe.
Promise # 8:
In August, ask for help to ease your daily caregiving responsibilities. There are organizations and companies that specialize in every type of senior care need. At Ingleside Homes, we have Home Healthcare aides that can help your seniors with daily activities such a bathing, grooming, dressing and household tasks. Having someone help you provide care for a senior is not a sign of weakness! It may help you rally your energy and bringing you closer to your senior relative.
Promise # 9:
In September, evaluate your emotions for anger, confusion, and frustration. Many caregivers who are part of the “sandwich generation” have just sent their children off to school, yet still are burdened with work stresses and are responsible for the needs of their senior relative. Emotions can be strained because everyone is pulling at you at the same time. Try keeping a journal to express your emotions in private, or phone a friend to whom you can vent your concerns.
Promise # 10:
In October, make sure to receive your flu shot! Discuss with your healthcare provider whether you should also consider a pneumonia vaccine. Keeping yourself well with preventive options allows you to be there for your seniors and help maintain their health too.
Promise # 11:
In November, thank yourself in case no one else does. This is month when we focus on thanksgiving. Sometimes it is difficult for seniors to express how much they appreciate your help. Surround yourself with family, friends and support group members that can thank you for all you do. These acts of gratitude can lighten the mood when times are difficult.
Promise # 12:
In December, stay positive and know that you are truly making a difference in someone’s life. The end of the year brings holidays, shopping, weather changes and more time pressures to get everything done. Step back and reflect on the plan you made in January. See how far you have come to achieving what you planned. No doubt, the most important items have been completed. It is time to celebrate! Look for ways to share fun times together with your senior.
One excellent way to enjoy the holiday season is to take in shows and performances. At Ingleside Homes, we host many entertainers throughout the year at our Downs Cultural Center. These shows are free and open to the public. Check our monthly schedule of events and enjoy time with your senior in our comfortable theater. Welcome to another new year!