You’re not a magician, but some days, you sure do feel like one.
Juggling, tightrope walking, lion taming ... however you visualize your balancing act, successfully managing multiple roles, responsibilities, and relationships all at once is a tricky business. Throw caregiving duties into the mix without adjusting your rhythm, passing tasks to a teammate, or removing distractions can lead to a lot of dropped balls, missed steps, and confused cats.
“Caregivers often feel like they have to ‘do it all,’ even while recognizing that spreading themselves too thin isn’t good for anyone,” says Jillian Castellano, Community Relations Director at YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, a Memory Care community in Coconut Creek, Florida. “Some people have a hard time admitting they can’t do it alone, but asking for help is one of the most selfless acts a caregiver can do when their loved one’s health, safety, and happiness are at stake.”
Castellano says that, while ‘asking for help’ isn’t the most groundbreaking revelation in caregiving, it’s one that bears repeating. Often. “Not asking for help can be very dangerous,” she says, “and people struggling to maintain a healthy balance are at risk for caregiver burnout. It’s important to remind caregivers that it’s okay – no, more than okay – to expect family members to carry their weight and to ask outside services for help.”
In this post, we’ll present a few ways to distribute some of the weight to help you keep your caregiver/life balance in check.
The key to getting what you need is to ask for it! Dropped hints and open-ended invitations to pitch in rarely work. Instead, say, “Mom needs milk. Can you please drop some off this afternoon?” So, what do you need? Break down your caregiving responsibilities into specific tasks you do regularly. Common duties might include:
- Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs): bathing, dressing, etc.
- Meal preparation
- Medication assistance
- Medical appointment and care coordination
- Pet care: walking, feeding, grooming appointments, supplies
- 24-hour supervision
- Emotional support
- Home safety modifications
- Financial oversight
When writing down your loved one’s specific care needs, consider which family member, friend or local service is best suited for a particular task. For example:
- Do you have siblings close by who could take weekly turns with you doing your parent’s shopping, laundry and meal preparations?
- Do you have adult children, nieces or nephews who could take turns driving their grandparent to and from the senior center or adult day program?
- Can older grandchildren keep your loved one company one night a week?
- Would your parent’s dog-loving neighbor take Spot along on his daily walks?
- Can you save a lot of time and hassle by setting up automatic home deliveries for your loved one’s prescriptions, groceries and frequently used household items?
Next, establish a clear picture of what is expected of you – and what you expect of yourself – aside from caregiving duties. Making this list will give you a chance to see in black and white just how much you do for others on any given day.
Your list won’t look exactly like this, of course, but you get the idea. Be as specific as possible and make notes where you may be able to give yourself a break (e.g., cutting your laundry days in half), or give up things completely (e.g., that cabinet position in your hobby club you felt obligated to take).
- Career or volunteer work
- Home maintenance and household chores
- Cooking and laundry
- Grocery shopping and errands
- Tending to your own physical and emotional health
- Family time, children’s or grandchildren’s ballgames and recitals, school projects, etc.
- Friendships and social well-being
- Self-care, hobbies, clubs, vacations (critical to a healthy balance!)
- Other issues going on in your life
Remember, every time you lighten your load or remove a stress trigger, you regain a little more of your balance. Prioritizing, remaining flexible and calling on a strong support system when necessary will be critical in your journey forward.
Get a solid start with these suggestions:
- Hold a family meeting. Decide which family members will take ownership of which tasks. Then set goals and expectations, create a schedule, and hold others accountable.
- If your family does not live locally or is unable to pitch in, consider hiring a non-medical home care provider. Check your local Agency on Aging or other social services agencies. Your loved one may be eligible for income- and needs-based financial assistance or grants that can help cover the cost of home care or home modifications.
- Attend a support group. No one knows what you're going through better than fellow caregivers.
- Hire a service, even if for a few hours a week, to help with household chores or yardwork.
- Enroll your loved one in an adult day program or short-term respite stay. These programs give you a break but also give your loved one the opportunity to socialize with their peers, plus access to personal care, life-enriching activities that boost confidence and more.
Call today to learn about our Caregiver Support Groups and Short-Term Respite Stay program at YourLife™ of Coconut Creek! 954-228-6319
Inspiring Memory Care Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Coconut Creek was created to provide the most exceptional Memory Care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. We focus all our energy, attention and resources on creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality while providing unmatched peace of mind and support for families.
Because Memory Care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We understand that each resident is an individual that has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities, so we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence.
Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection.
With YourStory, our signature programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and holistic health and wellness programming, outings and an array of other special events to personal care, assistance and therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Coconut Creek, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more!
Call us at 954-228-6319 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.