New Year is the start of a new beginning and a clean slate. It marks another year of change. Change for the better. A time to address things that you lacked in the past year, this is where New Year’s Resolutions come in. When you’re tasked with the care of an aging loved one who’s struggling with a degenerative disease, or just hard to accept the fact that they’re getting old and needing more care, the challenges of day to day living can be a bit more apparent.
Exercising more or paying off debts, and living healthy are one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. But for caregivers, these may seem more to their plate than they’re already facing. Now it’s better for caregivers to make a list that is more suited to their needs that is more manageable and worthwhile.
We have a few ideas in mind that you can consider, but it is suggested that you make these ideas suited to your individual needs. It’s also easier to keep specific resolutions that are close to your heart or is in line with your personal code or principle. For instance, “I will not let my temper get the best of me” is too vague to track, but if you say that “I will take a breather when I feel overwhelmed and keep myself from venting out” makes it more manageable and specific, thus easier to fulfill.
Here are some of the ideas we can share with you that you can modify depending on your needs:
1. I will make sure that I listen and talk to my loved one and share stories with them constantly
If you’re tasked to take care of a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s then this can be more memorable and special. But even if you’re giving care to someone who doesn’t have this disease, making a trip down to memory lane can always be a good way to recall and look back at the happy and memorable moments of their lives. Put this on your list to have at least 20 minutes catching up or talk time with your senior loved one. This can be done during dinner time or even Sunday morning strolls.
2. I will make myself a priority and take care of me too
Thinking about yourself when someone else needs more attention and care may be hard to commit to, but don’t forget that you only have yourself too. Taking yourself for granted may not only be damaging for your but also for the ones you’re looking after to.
Make yourself a deal not to add more stress to your life by having one resolution that you can’t fully commit to. You owe it to yourself to enjoy and live a happy and healthy life too. Take an hour or two of every day to do something that makes you feel alive, may it be your favorite sport or hobby, or even have a nice nap. Take the rest you need, you deserve it.
3. I will see to it that I will be available to all my loved ones who need me
Taking care of your senior loved ones is a fulfilling task, but they’re not the only significant people in your life. It is hard but you can always find a balance between taking care of a senior loved one and still having time to socialize and take care of other loved ones that requires your love and attention. This is in line with self-care; make yourself available to all the people you love so you won’t miss out.
4. I will manage my emotions by looking for healthier options to vent out my frustrations with dealing with a hurting loved one
Taking care of hurting loved one can put a lot of stress on you, but lest you forget, they don’t mean it or even can’t help that they’re feeling that way so be easy on them. It is difficult to keep your temper and not lash out on them but there are other ways on how you can manage it. Going to therapy or having a support group can definitely help you out in terms of coping with destructive emotions that can take over you.
5. I will not hesitate to ask for help the moment I can’t take it anymore
You can always take a break. No one will take it against you. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from your friends, family, and close acquaintances who know how to take care of seniors who are in assisted living as well.
Acknowledging that you need help isn’t a sign of weakness. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself so you can better take care of others.
Keeping your New Year’s resolutions is not an easy task, but is a fulfilling one once you start ticking off things on your list. Choose to create a better you for yourself and your loved ones, despite everything.
Happy New Year everyone!