If you are one of the 40.4 million people in the United States caring for a senior loved one, your days are likely busy. From managing medications to scheduling physician appointments, the responsibilities of the role can be quite demanding. A family caregiver might place their own health and happiness low on the list of priorities.
While caregiving is a noble endeavor, it’s one that can put your health at risk. Finding the right balance is essential. As 2020 begins, we have a few suggestions to help caregivers enjoy a healthy new year.
Healthy Caregiver Resolutions to Make for 2020
1. Seek out and accept assistance.
This one tops the list because it’s something caregivers can do to immediately protect their own health and well-being. Family members are often reluctant to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered. It’s important to realize no one can do it all alone.
By finding a few people you trust to care for your loved one, you will protect your personal health. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you have backup caregivers should you experience an emergency that prevents you from caring for your family member.
2. Join a caregiver support group.
Caregivers encounter unique challenges each day. Unless a friend has been responsible for the care of a senior loved one, they may not be able to relate to your struggles. By connecting with a group of fellow caregivers—either online or in person—you will likely find the emotional and physical support you need. A few places to start the search for an online caregiver community are the Family Caregiver Alliance and ALZConnected.
3. Visit your doctor.
If you’ve neglected seeing your doctor for a physical and routine screenings, resolve to catch up in 2020. Taking a proactive approach to your health will allow your physician to intervene and prevent small issues from becoming serious ones. That will enable you to take better care of yourself and your senior loved one.
4. Explore respite options.
Another resolution to make for 2020 is to learn more about and try out local respite care services. It might be a few days of respite a month at an assisted living community or a few hours a week of support from a home care agency. Having regular time to call your own will aid in managing caregiver stress and maintaining health.
5. Take care of yourself.
When you put your wellness on the back burner, you increase your risk for a medical crisis of your own. Eating well, sleeping, and exercising are basic tenets of health. While they may seem like indulgences when your days are busy, each is vital for being a good caregiver.
Fortunately, there are ways to eat well and exercise on the go. Home-delivered meals are affordable and make it simple to prepare healthy dinners in a hurry. Exercise can be broken up into two 15-minute increments that are easier to work into a busy caregiver’s day.
Explore Senior Care Options Before a Crisis
No caregiver wants to think the worst will happen. When you are responsible for the care of another person, however, preparing for emergencies is vital. One of our experienced Senior Care Advisors can help you learn more. Call 800-304-8061 to talk to a local advisor for free!
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