BY LINDA BURHANS
At this time of year we all start reviewing our accomplishments in 2015 and thinking about how we can do better and be healthier.
For 2016, here are my top ten New Year’s resolutions for family caregivers:
Make sure you’re eating enough nutritious food and sleeping enough every night. Stress and poor diet will take a toll on your physical and mental health. Eat right. Being healthy doesn’t mean eating boring food. Take a healthy cooking class to learn some new recipes, or visit the weekly farmer’s market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you!
READ AND LEARN.
Do you feel knowledgeable about your loved one’s medical conditions? Learning everything you can about what they’re dealing with will provide comfort and reduce stress for all.
ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS.
Conversations about wills and end-of-life care aren’t fun. But better to get them out of the way now than to be left wondering. Sitting down with your loved one to talk about these things will take a weight off your mind.
ACCEPT HELP AND ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT.
Be honest with yourself about how you’re handling caregiving on top of your daily tasks. If you’re in control, great. But asking for help doesn’t mean admitting defeat. Ask your family to chip in, or consider hiring professional help if you need it.
PLAN FOR “ME” TIME.
Caregivers often don’t take the time to take care of themselves. Set aside time for yourself. But maintaining your “me” time will make you most positive and balanced, and make you a better caregiver. Take daily time to do whatever makes you happy, whether that’s reading, walking, meditating, or going out with friends.
FALL-PROOF YOUR HOME.
One-third of all senior falls come from hazards around the home. Take preventative measures now to prevent actions in the future.
GO THROUGH YOUR FAMILY PHOTOS WITH YOUR LOVED ONE.
They have information and stories about your family members that your children and grandchildren don’t know. Make sure your family heritage is preserved by going through your family photos by labeling them or putting them in an album that your family can enjoy for generations.
CREATE A FAMILY CAREGIVER’S HOME HEALTH EMERGENCY CARE PLAN.
Get your affairs in order. Collect and organize important documents concerning your insurance, will, financial information, and assets. It’s not a fun task, but getting it done will feel great.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RESPITE CARE SERVICES.
Respite care provides a temporary break for caregivers. This can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Acknowledge what you do! And get into a support group!