The idea of making New Year’s resolutions dates back thousands of years to the ancient Babylonians. Today, many people still use the dawn of a new year to implement positive changes in their lives. As an informal caregiver who’s looking after an aging loved one, New Year’s resolutions are the perfect way to stay refreshed so that you can continue to deliver the level of care your senior needs. Taking to heart these four caregiver resolutions for 2021 will help ensure that your wellbeing remains strong throughout the new year.
I Resolve to Confront My Negative Emotions.
Far too many caregivers hold onto unnecessary guilt and self-criticism because they never feel like they are doing enough. After all, caregivers by nature are selfless, giving people. This year don’t allow yourself to be haunted by negative feelings that stem from unrealistic expectations.
When the guilt and frustration are caused by something outside your control, do your best to confront those emotions and then cast them aside. The more you can identify your feelings in real-time, the better you’ll be at letting go of things you cannot control.
I Resolve to Not Self-Isolate.
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 2021, resolve to get out in the world and connect with family and friends. For example, schedule recurring lunch dates with some of your favorite people or a weekend getaway with your significant other.
I Resolve to Take Care of Myself.
Because informal caregivers are so selfless, they often neglect their own 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 a healthy diet, not abusing alcohol, avoiding cigarettes, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day, and taking up a new hobby. 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 I Need it.
This resolution is always 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 do. 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 stress begin to set in.
Warning signs of caregiver stress and fatigue may include:
- Anxiety, depression, irritability
- Feeling tired and run down
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overreacting to minor annoyances
- New or worsening health problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling increasingly resentful
- Drinking, smoking, or eating more
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Lack of interest in leisure activities
If you don’t get the support you need, caregiving fatigue can morph into full-blown caregiver burnout. Once that happens, it has the potential to lower the quality of life for all parties involved.
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 “lighten your load” by seeking 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 new year when the health and wellbeing of you, as a caregiver, and your loved one weighs in the balance!
Need Help Improving Your Wellbeing as a Caregiver During the New Year? We Have Flexible In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Virginia.
Caring for an aging loved one during the holidays can be overwhelming at times. Finding a suitable respite caregiver isn’t always easy when you’ve never done it before. At AmeriCare Plus, we are a family-owned senior care business that’s been assisting clients and their families in Virginia for over 26 years now. Spearheaded by Team Teal, we offer our clients care, compassion, and security in the comfort of their own home.
As a premier home care provider, our highly trained professionals can deliver in-home respite care services, including hourly personal care, live-in companion care, bed and bath assistance, holiday assistance, and even pet assistance. With ten convenient locations across Virginia, we are one big family taking care of your family. To learn more about AmeriCare Plus now or schedule an initial consultation for a senior in our service area, please visit us today at www.americarepluspc.com.