Millions of Americans each year donate their time and talents to care for aging-in-place friends and relatives. And although serving as a family caregiver is highly gratifying, it can also be physically and emotionally demanding. Avoiding caregiver stress can be challenging as days transition into weeks, months, and even years. End-of-year is the perfect time for caregivers to think about ways to stay refreshed in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Here are five that you’ll want to include on your list as another year draws to a close.
I Resolve to Recognize the Signs of Caregiver Fatigue
The first step is understanding these caregiver fatigue warning signs:
- Anxiety, depression, and irritability
- Feeling tired and run down all the time
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overreacting to minor annoyances
- New or worsening health problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling increasingly resentful
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating more
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
If you don’t get the help you need, caregiving fatigue can transition into full-blown caregiver burnout. Once that happens, your quality of life – and that of your care recipient – could be in jeopardy.
I Resolve to Confront My Negative Feelings
Many caregivers hold onto unnecessary emotions like guilt because they never feel like they are doing enough. After all, caregivers are selfless, giving people. This year don’t allow yourself to be haunted by negative feelings resulting from unrealistic expectations.
When the guilt and frustration are caused by something outside your control, do your best to confront those emotions and kick them to the curb. The more you can identify your feelings in the present, the better you’ll be at letting go of things you cannot control.
I Resolve to Socialize More
It’s common for family caregivers to become socially isolated, a decision that is often not a conscious one. The demands of caregiving can make it nearly impossible to seek out social connections that human beings value so much. A lack of socialization can jeopardize close relationships and put you at higher risk for depression, heart disease, and stroke.
In 2022, resolve to get out in the world more and connect with family and friends. For instance, schedule recurring lunch dates with some of your favorite people or a weekend getaway with your significant other.
I Resolve to Take Better Care of Myself
Because informal caregivers are so selfless, they often neglect their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Clinical depression affects roughly half of all family caregivers, with many experiencing physical consequences as a result.
With that in mind, focus more on yourself this year by exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, not abusing alcohol, and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. If you haven’t had one for a while, also be sure to schedule a complete health screening with your primary care doctor.
I Resolve to Ask for Help When Needed
This resolution is often easier said than done. As a family caregiver, there probably aren’t too many people who can take care of your loved one the way you can. However, looking after your own mental and physical health needs to be an essential part of your caregiving duties. This year, resolve to ask for help whenever you feel caregiver fatigue begin to set in.
Even if it’s only for a few hours, sources of caregiver relief – or “respite” – include trusted family members, friends, and neighbors. You can also seek outside assistance through a meal delivery service, adult daycare center, or professional in-home respite caregiver. Whatever you do, resolve to not go it alone this year when the health and well-being of you and your loved one weigh in the balance!
Flexible In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Fort Wayne, IN
When it’s time to take a well-deserved caregiving break, give Senior1Care a call. At Senior1Care, we provide trustworthy, compassionate home care services to seniors living in Huntertown, Leo-Cedarville, Grabill, Auburn, Bluffton, and the greater Fort Wayne, IN, area. Our experienced caregivers are trained to deliver professional, reliable care in the same respectful and friendly manner that they would treat their own family members.
At Senior1Care, we understand that having a caregiver in your loved one’s home is a decision that requires trust. Our goal is to build relationships with clients by listening to their needs and providing the highest level of quality care possible. We are committed to helping your loved ones maintain their wellbeing, independence, and comfort. To learn more about our flexible caregiving options or schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in the greater Fort Wayne, IN, area, visit us by clicking here now.