As the calendar churns towards 2022 and you look ahead to the new year, if you’re a caregiver you might be needing a pick-me-up. The holidays can be difficult, the pandemic is still going, and caregiving can be a full-time job even at the best of times.
But for many people, a new year means resolutions; a chance to do things a bit differently. An opportunity to reset and imagine a different way forward.
With that in mind, here at Prestige Senior Living we have three ideas for new year’s resolutions for caregivers.
Maintain a Sense of Self
As a caregiver, you spend your day in service of others – the older adult you’re caring for, your family, and your career. Amidst all the demands on you as a caregiver, there’s one important person who can often have their needs neglected: you.
Many caregivers find that they become so busy with the needs of others they lose sight of what it is that brings them joy.
Whether it’s hiking in the wilderness, yoga, wine tastings with friends, tennis, or even just curling up with a good book, caregivers need to find pockets of time to fill their own buckets.
Without those moments to themselves, isolation, loneliness, depression and resentment can creep in. As this article from the Family Caregiver Alliance notes, “While friends continue on their daily routines, some caregivers are left to feel alone in their caregiving duties. Likewise, caregivers without support from other caregivers in similar situations may feel as though no one really understands their situation. This can lead to a withdrawal from social activities and relationships that they previously enjoyed.”
Your relationships and interests are just as important now as they were prior to becoming a caregiver. Even if you can’t take part as often as before, finding time when possible is vital to your sense of self and happiness.
Ask For Help
Loneliness can be common among caregivers, but it can particularly acute among those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Consider this passage from an article on the website AgingCare: “Whatever the reason, loneliness and caregiving often go hand in hand. To make matters worse, the isolation that many caregivers experience is subtle at first but steadily worsens. As your loved one’s needs demand more and more of your time, you begin to see less and less of friends and family. Until one day, you realize that your social life has deteriorated along with your care recipient’s health.”
You don’t have to do this alone. If you have family in the area, work out a schedule where everyone pitches in. If not, perhaps consider a home health care aide to assist. Which brings us to the next resolution…
Consider a Respite Stay
Maybe there’s a vacation you’ve been meaning to take, but keep putting off, because of your caregiving responsibilities.
Maybe it’s been months since you’ve had a night out with friends.
Maybe there’s a Marvel movie, rom-com or foreign film you want to go see.
Or maybe you just want a weekend at home to yourself.
Everyone deserves time to decompress. If you’re feeling like you need a break, many Prestige Senior Living communities offer respite stays, allowing the caregiver some time off while their loved one is cared for by a passionate team.
In fact, we often find that once many older adults spend time in one of our communities on a respite stay, they enjoy the camaraderie and social life that comes with living in one of our communities and want to make it a permanent move.
If you’re interested in a respite stay for your loved one, contact the community nearest you to find out if they have any openings.
Life at Prestige Senior Living
If you and your loved one are ready to consider senior living, Prestige has communities throughout the Western United States. Our innovative Celebrations program is devoted to the health and wellness of our assisted living residents, while our award-winning Expressions memory care program helps those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia lead full, meaningful lives.
Find a community near you to learn more and to book either an in-person or virtual tour. We also have a resource page available for caregivers featuring other blogs, podcasts and valuable information.