New Year Resolutions: Tips for Caregivers

For many caregivers, “just make it through the day” is a resolution they make every morning. But only setting sights on short-term survival is a recipe for exhaustion.

Caregivers, by definition, give, and rarely ever take, even when they need something. But you can only care for someone else if you are rested, can control stress and feel your best – or at least the best you can.

Here are some resolutions to help caregivers be healthier, more organized and more present in 2020.

Ask for the help you need. No one can “do it all” on their own. Caregivers need and deserve help. Make a list of specific items friends and family can help you with. The next time someone asks what they can help with, refer to your list. A support team, whether friends, family, or hospice, will free you to make the most of your time with your loved one.

Complete necessary paperwork. Discuss your loved one’s wishes for medical treatment and complete the paperwork to ensure those wishes will be carried out. Your loved one will need to have a current will, trust, durable financial power of attorney (POA), as well as a medical power of attorney and advanced health care directive, or “living will.” Provide updated copies of the completed health care directive to your loved one’s healthcare providers and any other decision-makers in the family. Assuring Your Wishes can help you get organized and get the paperwork in place.

Take care of yourself. Caregiver respite is critical, so schedule the time and support you need to take a little time off for self-care. Recharge mentally and physically with a little R-and-R, spending time on a favorite hobby, or exploring a new place. Consider making a support group or counseling a part of your healthier routine.

Say “no.” “If you need something done, give it to a busy person,” as the saying goes. But you are busy enough. You don’t need to volunteer, take on extra work or do favors for people right now. Practice saying, “I wish I could, but this isn’t a good time,” or just plain, “No.”

Make amends. Don’t wait until it is too late to apologize, or too late to accept an apology. Many people wait until late in life to try to heal old emotional wounds, and then don’t have time to enjoy the rekindled relationships. When you can, and it is healthy for you, reach out to let bygones be bygones.

If you need support, United Hospice is here for you. Contact us at 845.634.4974 or to learn more about our support services for caregivers and patients.