Heading into the New Year, many people make resolutions they hope will help focus them on the road to wellness, health and prosperity.
Unfortunately, after a few weeks or perhaps even a few months our resolutions are forgotten and the goals unmet.
Family caregivers want the same for themselves as others – to be healthy, wealthy and wise. For many, though, personal objectives take second, or even third, place behind the care of loved ones.
Caregivers’ busy schedules and unending list of tasks to be completed before the day is done may not leave time for making a list of goals (not resolutions) much less establishing plans and working toward accomplishing them.
But it is all too important as a family caregiver to care for yourself! This year we have put together our list of 10 top personal goals that all family caregivers should consider working toward throughout the year for their own well-being and also for that of their senior loved one.
Caregiver burnout is an all too common occurrence. It is highlighted by real physical and emotional exhaustion, which can impact your own well-being and diminish how well you are able to care for your senior loved one.
Caregiver burnout can be incapacitating to you. It can lead to stress, fatigue, and depression. Burnout can also be financial for some people, who begin spending their own resources for essential needs and for those who can no longer work due to caregiving responsibilities.
When left unrecognized and untreated, caregiver burnout can lead to negative outcomes for you and your family — perhaps even result in placement of your senior loved one in a facility because you are no longer able to provide care in the home.
It is important for you to realize how quickly you can become overwhelmed and work to prevent burnout!
We hope you will live these goals as well as your own personal goals in the upcoming year so that you can be the best caregiver possible while avoiding burnout!
10 New Year’s Personal Goals for Caregivers
To help you, the family caregiver, have happy days building strong relationships with those you love, including the senior loved one for whom you care, we have compiled this list of 10 top goals we think are important and achievable for family caregivers.
You can work on one or more of these each day and you will feel better physically and emotionally as well as have more quality time to spend with your senior loved one all throughout the year!
- I will find ten minutes, even if I have to schedule it, to sit down, breathe and relax today! I am worth it and deserve time to recharge my batteries.
- I will call my healthcare provider(s) and make appointments for my own health check-up and preventive health procedures today so that I can stay healthy. I will get my immunizations as needed and prevent illness so that I can fulfill my caregiving duties.
- I will connect with those who can provide me with respite care, whether through an agency, paid caregivers or family members. I will build my caregiver network so that I have resources upon whom I can call when I need them. I will remind myself that I am not alone in my caregiving role and there are others who can help me.
- I will contact my closest friends through a phone call, email or social media to renew my personal relationships, have a cup of coffee and remember that I have a life outside of my role as caregiver. I won’t allow my friendships or my spouse to take a back seat in my life and find ways to maintain and even build these vital relationships. I will not isolate myself or my senior.
- I will remember why I am a family caregiver and give my senior loved one a big hug and kiss. I will remind myself every day that I am where I am supposed to be, doing the work that I am meant to do and I will never regret the time I am spending nurturing my senior loved one.
- I will call someone for help when I need it or just when I need a break or a shoulder on which to cry. When someone offers help, I will allow them to do something for me, even if they don’t do it exactly as I would. I will accept help when given and be thankful for it.
- I will get six to eight hours of sleep every night to replenish my own strength to face the challenges in the new day.
- I will eat nutritious food that will nourish my body for my daily tasks and keep me healthy to continue providing care to my senior loved one. I will not be happy to eat what others don’t finish or skip meals because I am too busy and will sit down at meal times to eat with my loved ones instead of starting the next task.
- I will recognize my own frustrations and take a breather before I show my emotions to my senior loved one. I will remember that it is their disease – not them – that spur my emotions and often they don’t realize that they are pushing all my buttons, nor can they stop themselves, but I can. I will seek help to control my emotions so that they don’t eat me up inside and cause me to be depressed.
- I will enjoy each moment with my senior loved one who is a gift to me so that in the future when they are no longer by my side I will know in my heart that I made a difference in their life and be comforted. I will capture the memories and store them away for the time when I will need them again. I will live in the moment!
We would love to hear your additions to this list that can benefit us all!
Wishing you and your senior loved ones a Happy New Year full of memory making and joy!