Many people use to-do lists when planning a vacation, home improvement project or for managing their personal finances. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who take care of an aging in place loved one, a to-do list is also important so that you can more efficiently balance those informal caregiving duties with a household, job and kids. But compiling a caregiving to-do list is only a start, and it’s just as important to make sure that you stick to it. What follows are 5 reliable ways to accomplish both.
These Can Cause Caregiver Stress
Although serving as an informal caregiver can be highly rewarding, it oftentimes comes with numerous challenges that can lead to caregiver stress, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Lack of sleep
- Depressed immune system
- Social isolation
- Resenting the care recipient
- Financial difficulties
- Marital problems
- Substance abuse
- Feelings of guilt
Many of these issues are made worse by poor time management, and if these stress-inducers continue to persist, they can cause caregiver fatigue and even burnout.
5 Items for Your To-Do List
To help stay recharged and refreshed so that you can help your loved one enjoy a higher quality of life, compile a to-do list that includes these 5 items:
Join a Support Group
Online or in-person caregiving support groups are a great way for you to make new friends who not only understand what you’re going through, they can also share tips for making the process go more smoothly. If your senior has a chronic medical condition, there are many disease-related organizations that offer online support groups and assistance.
Talk to Your Employer
Over half of all informal caregivers also hold down full-time jobs. If you are employed outside the home, sit down with your supervisor or H.R. representative and honestly tell them what’s going on. Some of the topics to discuss during your conversation may include:
- Your rights under the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Available company benefits like an Employee Assistance Program
- Other workplace resources including flexible work schedules, on-site elder care, emergency time off, or care management assistance
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t help your loved one if you’re stressed out and fatigued. Include on your list some ways to take better care of yourself, like:
- Eating nutritious foods
- Getting an annual checkup and immunizations
- Exercising regularly
- Spending quality time with your spouse, children and friends
- Staying spiritually grounded
- Celebrating small caregiving victories with a spa day, weekend getaway, etc.
Create a caregiving spreadsheet with activities of daily living that your loved one needs, and then prioritize those duties based on importance and your availability. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, break up big tasks into manageable “chunks” that you can accomplish during each visit. Activities of daily living that you may want to include on your caregiving spreadsheet include:
- Getting her in and out of bed
- Meals and grocery shopping
- Bathing and dressing
- Bill paying
Check off items on your to-do list as they’re completed, which will also give you a sense of accomplishment as the days go by!
Instead of shouldering all the caregiving responsibilities by yourself, lighten your load by delegating tasks to other resources like:
- Online medication management and delivery services like PillPack
- Senior meal and transportation providers
- Trustworthy family members and friends
- Community organizations found through your local Agency on Aging
- Licensed home care agencies
Add Optimal Senior Care Solutions to Your Caregiving To-Do List
Even when following a to-do list, caring for an aging in place senior can still be overwhelming. When you need a break, contact Optimal Senior Care Solutions. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our carefully screened respite caregivers can serve as an extended family in your loved one’s home so they can continue living safely and comfortable in place right where they want to be. Our experienced team of caregiving professionals uses a unique approach that’s designed to improve the quality of life for the seniors and families we serve.
Our family trusted in-home services include meals, personal hygiene, light housework, grocery shopping, medication reminders, transportation and companionship. All our top-quality amenities can be individually combined into an affordable package that’ll restore your peace of mind! To learn more about Optimal Senior Care Solutions, or to schedule a FREE initial assessment for a senior in your life, please visit us online today.