When giving care to children and aging parents, family members are stripped of self-care time which adds loads of stress to the daily life. Even the most resilient people give in to the grind and become frazzled. If you give care to a loved one, take steps each day to preserve your health and well-being.
Caregiving offers many rewards and just being there for another when needed is a core value you hold like so many others who help family members. But always being on call for another person can drag you down and put extra pressure on you. You have enough to worry about; your kids, a spouse, a job, yard work, and upkeep with maintenance around the home. When do you have time for yourself?
That’s why I asked the Aging Council at Seniorcare.com,
What are some things a family caregiver can do to save time and reduce stress?
13 tips to reduce stress
- When dealing with medical issues, complete the simple ones first: Reconfirm medical appointments the day before. Ask the healthcare team if they have received and reviewed test results and ask if they’re ready to discuss during the meeting. This act saves you time; it eliminates seeing the doctor twice.
- Use respite care for at least some small break when needed. Have a friend or professional caregiver help out, even if it doesn’t feel needed at the moment. It helps the caregiver build a comfort level with this, and a relationship with someone who they can trust to help out moving forward.
- Learn to manage behavioral issues related to dementia. Time spent arguing, negotiating and hearing comments contributes to unnecessary stress and time.
- Ask for help from neighbors, friends, extended family, church volunteers, and volunteers. Provide a list of tasks they can do like prepare a meal, or make a trip to the food market, pick up prescriptions, do the laundry, offer you loved one a ride to the doctor, schedule appointments, etc. You can manage the tasks by using Care Bridge or Lots of Helping Hands.
- Don’t overload with multiple tasks. Make your workload lighter by keeping a list ready for when someone says “how can I help?” Give them a job from the list. Everyone needs help from time to time.
- Buy ZocDoc.com, which is an online appointment and medication record keeping system.
- Have conversations with your immediate family to divvy up responsibilities like emptying the trash, paying bills, taking children to appointments, doing laundry, and so on.
- I’d answer in two words: Slow Down! Whenever I rushed, I usually regret it. The care recipient will pick up on your feelings, and they will react. Also, when rushed, you may have to go back and do it all over again. So, slow down.
- Learn to delegate. You may be the primary caregiver, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Hire a professional caregiver. It could be a sibling or a teenager. Find a Senior Care Auditor to visit your mom or dad. They can assess the living conditions and report back to you.
- Set up as many routines, schedules, systems, shortcuts — mainly, find an a tool to streamline the daily “to dos.” They require set up but at the end of the day, you’ll save a lot of time.
- Use your caregiving “down time” by using “the cloud” along with your smartphone to work on business while at a doctor’s appointment. Use this time to reply to an email, work on social media, write articles, edit photos, or complete a spreadsheet.
- The majority of the caregiver’s biggest challenge is trying to get their elderly loved one to the doctor’s office. Check into practices and clinics that offer home visits.
- Reach out and find others who are in similar situations and support one another. Having a support group who listens to your frustrations and emotions can relieve stress. Millions of people are caregiving for friends or family, which means there are millions of people who can learn from each other.