Whether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, the holiday is a great time for caregivers to take stock of their emotional assets. After a year or more of making certain a loved one is receiving the care he needs, you may have sacrificed your own physical or emotional well-being. Here are some questions you might ask yourself to determine how you are faring.
Do you make certain to allow some time for yourself, away from the loved one you care for? If you have a family, do you take time to do things with them? Asking for help is not a sign you aren’t doing your job; it is an indication that you are caring for yourself as well. In the year ahead, promise yourself some well-deserved down time. In-home care agencies can provide respite for a few hours, a day or a week or more to give you time to relax. Of course, you could hire a neighbor or relative, but the agency trains its personnel to handle emergencies and understand the limitations your loved one may have.
Did you get your flu shot? You cannot care for a loved one if you are ill. The strain that is making people sick this year may be different, but the shot may lessen symptom severity and shorten the duration.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Determine to learn more about the issues your loved one is having. Just knowing what to expect in the future, what is normal and when you should get more help can significantly lessen your own stress level.
Are you depressed? Of course, as caregivers we all get down sometimes. Seeing someone we love struggle with impairments and illness is hard, especially if that impairment is dementia. Caregivers of elders with dementia are twice as likely to have depression as the general population. Some of the signs of depression are: a change in eating patterns or an unusual gain or loss of weight; a change in sleep patterns; constant fatigue; loss of interest in things you have always liked to do; being easily angered or frustrated with little cause and thoughts of suicide. If you have any of those symptoms, and if they have persisted longer than two weeks, you should see your doctor.
Do you know how your loved one stands in relation to insurance benefits and savings? These are crucial details for a caregiver to know. Evaluating your own and your loved one’s financial resources at the beginning of each year helps you plan ahead, and gives you an idea of the options that may be available to you.
Whether you call them resolutions or just goals, the Near Year holiday is a great time to assess how we are doing and plan to make the coming year as stress-free as we can.
If you would like to talk to someone about your resources and challenges, or if you would like to learn more about in-home care contact us. We can help you meet your goals to provide the best care for your loved one and for yourself.