Do you approach the day with the same routine, wake up, hit the floor running trying to cram in as much as possible to your already overloaded schedule? Do you wake up and feel guilty for not having accomplished yesterday’s to-do list? First you start the coffee then check on your loved one, dressing, feeding and organizing the medicines for the day. Is there a doctor’s appointment or therapy to attend? Do you start the day felling stressed? Are you tired all the time or have you gained a few pounds? Is there anytime for you in this day?
Juggling the daily to-do list, sacrificing your own needs for those of the loved one, will lead to burnout, which not only doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help the one you’re caring for. Giving yourself permission to take a break is crucial to restoring yourself physically and mentally.
Everyone can find fifteen minutes…just fifteen minutes! Fifteen minutes to do something purely for you, every day, uninterrupted. Once begun, maybe you can build on the fifteen minutes and maybe not. But even if not, be sure to take the time – and savor it – everyday. Make it a ritual, which sets your body and mind up to use it to its best advantage. You need it. And you deserve it!
Here are some easy and effective ways to recharge.
Step outside and breath some fresh air
Read a book or magazine article
Stretch or do some yoga
Listen to music
Meditate or pray
Write your thoughts, doodle, or poetry in a journal
Take a cat nap
Enjoy a piece of cake
Go outside and cut some flowers or fresh greens to bring inside
Light a scented candle and have a cup of coffee or tea.
The numbers are staggering. According to an AARP study, the number of people 45-64 who can care for those 80 and older will drop by nearly half in the next fifteen years while the number of those 80 and older will increase by 80%. Today, with the rising cost of long-term and assisted care facilities, many are electing to provide care at home, yet most people go into it blind to the possibilities and pitfalls.
Caregiving can be both physically and emotionally challenging – AND it’s often the responsibility of one person, which can make it isolating as well. In addition to helping a loved one bathe and dress, juggling doctors’ appointments and managing a household, many caregivers must perform more complicated tasks typically completed by health care providers. Caregivers today manage multiple medications, intravenous fluids, wound care, post-surgical dressing changes, ostomy care and home dialysis. As more people are living longer, often with chronic health conditions, more responsibility falls on the caregiver. Stress is a constant.
Ok Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing, 2014) is an antidote to stress. It provides experience-based practical solutions to problems while offering strategies for self-care for the caregiver, including ways to schedule respite breaks and address issues like maintaining boundaries with family members — a proactive approach that helps prevent living in crisis mode. Who is Caring for the Caregiver? First and foremost, it must be the caregiver. OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters walks them through it.
Caregiver awareness is still in its infancy, but the need is not. We would love the opportunity to be guests on your show to discuss this very timely topic and answer questions from the audience.