Many people made New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that some part of their life or health would be the focus of personal improvement.
Family caregivers also make resolutions but those, like many aspects of our lives, may have a different focus.
As caregivers of senior loved ones, often our resolutions incorporate in some way the needs of those for whom we care.
A frequent caregiver resolution is to manage time better to be able to care for your senior loved one in the best, most effective way possible.
Another resolution would be to learn more about their disease so you can provide more specific care.
A good resolution for caregivers is to find time for yourself and to remember that self-care is important every day.
Usually caregivers forget the New Year’s promises they made even before the end of January drew near either because they are too busy or feel that their resolution was actually unachievable.
Achievable Resolutions to Last All Year Long
Instead of making setting broad objectives that will only make caregivers feel guilty for not achieving them, you can think of ways to tackle each new day in the most positive way to improve the lives of your senior loved one but also your own.
Here are some alternative ways which focus on the positive that caregivers can find helpful instead of the current unmet resolutions.
You can practice these things everyday all year long to make your senior’s and your own life more fulfilling.
Be an engaged listener, attend to what your senior is telling you, and listen to what they are not saying.
They need your help and don’t know how to ask.
They need your affection and don’t know how to express their emotions.
They need your approval that what they desire is ok with you.
They need you to remind them about their special memories.
They don’t want to disappoint you or anger you.
They depend on you to make it right; however, we have trouble knowing what is right because we are so caught up in the day to day activities of living to pause long enough to receive the important messages.
As caregivers our primary role is often a “fixer”.
We replace the blown out light bulb in the hall.
We write the checks for overdue bills.
We fill the unfilled prescriptions.
We throw out the spoiled milk.
We fix the creaky front step.
We put in grab bars in the tub.
We fill out advance directives.
We visit our seniors in a facility when we don’t always have time.
We do the wash and the shopping
We make a million and one decisions.
Sometimes being a fixer can put stress on caregivers. Don’t forget to add your name to the fixer list!
Take a hot bath, read a good book, get some help from others completing chores and other tasks that can make your day lighter to keep you healthy enough to fix more things.
SEIZE THE DAY!
Revel in the moment. Don’t regret the time or event that has passed or the lost opportunity.
Live everyday with your precious loved one enjoying each moment whether good or bad as it comes along.
Share your smile, your time, your feelings, your memories, your tears, your laughter, your joy, and your love with your senior each time you are together.
Yes, that means just how it sounds.
Thank your senior for what they have given you.
Thank the helper who provides your senior with a service, no matter how small.
Thank the neighbor who keeps watch for you when you are not there.
Thank your family for pitching in.
Thank the medical team for listening to your concerns and guiding the care of your senior.
Thank yourself (just in case no else does).
Resolve to Be!
Every day you make a difference for your senior loved one.
You don’t have to wait until a new year rolls by to look for ways to make a change.
Resolve to BE!
We welcome your personal stories!