A new year offers us an opportunity to reset and develop fresh intentions for our lives, work, relationships, and more. When we think of New Year’s resolutions, it’s often in the context of self-improvement, like losing weight, quitting a bad habit, or earning more money. But when developed with a bit of intention, resolutions can also be a powerful tool for self-care. That’s why we want to focus our attention this year on how family caregivers can use resolutions to foster their own well-being. Because when family caregivers are happy and healthy, so are the people they care for.
The Challenges of Family Caregiving
According to AARP estimates, more than 50 million Americans have provided care to an adult or child with special needs in the last twelve months. That number represents nearly a quarter of the population. The care these people provide is critical for the health and well-being of the people being cared for. Often these tasks involve activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, toileting, preparing meals, and performing household chores. Without the help of family caregivers, millions of Americans would live in squalor and solitude. Many of them would even die.
Unfortunately, family caregiving comes with significant financial and health costs for the people doing the caring. Family caregivers often spend so much time taking care of other people that they can’t work outside jobs. Consequently, family caregivers earn significantly less during their lives than non-caregivers. Family caregivers also experience high rates of mental health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “14.5% of caregivers reported experiencing 14 or more mentally unhealthy days in the past month.” The role is so unrelenting that family caregivers often struggle with high rates of burnout and compassion fatigue.
To make matters worse, family caregivers are often isolated and lack much-needed support from their family and friends. These factors make it essential for family caregivers to create space in their lives to practice self-care, and making a few resolutions for the new year can help.
Using New Year’s Resolutions for Self-Care
With a little bit of thought, family caregivers can use New Year’s resolutions to create space for their own needs. Here are a few examples of how that can work in practice:
Resolve to Take One Day Off Each Month
Sometimes even a short break can make a significant difference in your outlook. By making a New Year’s resolution to take a day off from your caregiving duties each month, you’re granting yourself permission to take the space you’ll need to rest and recharge. Plus, a resolution formalizes your intention and adds a level of accountability that might not otherwise exist. So mark a day off on the calendar and take some time for yourself. You certainly deserve it.
Resolve to Connect With Important Friends
Family caregiving is incredibly isolating. You’re automatically placing someone else’s needs above your own, which makes it extremely challenging to make time for friendships. This is unfortunate, however, because a good friendship can help family members endure the most difficult parts of their jobs. Consider resolving to prioritize an important friendship. Sometimes a sympathetic ear can make all the difference in the world when you’re struggling to keep things together, even if it’s just over the phone.
Resolve to Forgive Yourself for Not Being Perfect
Many family caregivers struggle with feelings of guilt because they don’t perform their duties perfectly. Or, they catch themselves feeling resentment towards the person they’re caring for. These feelings are natural byproducts of existing in a stressful and emotional situation. For the new year, resolve to show yourself more grace. Give yourself permission to fail, and remember, you’re doing your very best. When you’ve learned to forgive yourself for your own unrealistic expectations, you’ll find the world opens up a bit.
In-Home Caregiving Can Help
In many cases, the best thing family caregivers can do is find outside support. A professional in-home caregiver will perform the same tasks you do while watching out for the health and well-being of your loved one. In-home caregivers can also provide respite care, allowing family caregivers to relax and recharge free of their regular responsibilities. If you’re a family caregiver in Arizona, Generations Home Care can help ease your burden. Contact us today to learn how we can help, and together, we can make the new year better than ever.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website