By Jen Sexton
Over the holiday season, I found myself on a plane next to a wonderful, kind woman. She engaged me in conversation and we talked about our jobs and home life. She recently quit her job to take care of her ailing mother while also being a mother to her two sons (a 12 year old and a 7 year old) at home. With a husband who works full time and travels, naturally her stress level was through the roof.
So many people I encounter light up when they find out what I do. I help seniors and their families when extra in-home assistance might be needed. I have over a decade of experience in helping family members, near and far, decide what steps to take next and how to avoid burnout when they decide to take on the sole role as caregiver. Being a caregiver to a loved one can be hard. Keeping a balance between their home life and caring for a loved one outside (or inside) the home adds a new matrix and stress level that many people find themselves in. And the number is climbing. We’ve heard it 100 times, “care for the caregiver.” The problem is, it’s true. You must take care of yourself in order to effectively be a caregiver.
Below is my “Top 10 Promise List” for the New Year. Work hard at keeping these promises. If not for yourself, do it for your loved one.
Resolutions for Caregivers
- Thank yourself in case no one else does.
- Ask for help!
- Take time out of every day to care yourself so you can go on caring for your senior.
- Get your flu shot! You can’t afford to be sick!
- Read a book of inspiration or new ideas; learn more about how to cope with your senior’s specific disease such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.
- Join a support group!
- Maintain balance between your family, work and caregiving lives.
- Deal with your emotions of anger, confusion, frustration and talk with others who can help you.
- Check your senior loved one’s finances to be sure they can cover their needs, seek advice from experts on how to make the money last.
- Stay positive - you are making a difference!