The new year has nearly arrived, and with it comes the opportunity for a fresh start. It’s believed that that the Babylonians first made New Year’s resolutions some 4,000 years ago. So, the idea of making yourself anew each time the calendar resets has been around for centuries. These resolutions offer us the opportunity to examine our lives and make purposeful adjustments as we see fit.
Now, the idea of making New Year’s resolutions might seem pointless to some family caregivers. After all, caregivers mostly focus on the critical work of caring for a loved one who can’t care for themselves. Too often, however, caregivers forego their own needs entirely for the sake of their loved ones. That’s why the all-consuming nature of family caregiving leads to stress, depression, burnout, and emotional exhaustion. Perhaps then, this New Year is an opportunity for family caregivers everywhere to make a few resolutions for themselves. Here are a few examples.
I Resolve to Forgive Myself for Not Being Able to do Everything
Too many family caregivers hold on to unnecessary guilt because they never feel like they’re doing enough. These feelings are perfectly understandable. After all, caregivers, by their nature, are selfless. However, allowing yourself to be haunted by self-criticism can be poisonous to your mental well-being. Especially if you’re feeling guilty due to your unrealistic expectations. So, in 2020, resolve to examine the source of your guilt by asking, “Does my guilt stem from something I failed to do, or is it the result of a situation outside my control?” If your guilt comes from something that is out of your control, do your best to release it. This process will be ongoing, of course, but the more you can examine your feelings in real-time, the better you’ll be at letting go of the things you can’t control.
I Resolve to Take Time for Myself in 2020
Because family caregivers are so selfless, they often neglect their own needs in favor of their loved ones. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable approach to life. According to research by the Family Caregiving Alliance, “between 40 to 70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression, with approximately one-quarter to one-half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.” These mental consequences lead to physical consequences as well, including an increased risk of developing heart disease, a diminished immune response, and more. Being a family caregiver is terrible for your health. So with that in mind, caregivers should resolve to take more time for themselves in 2020. That means making time to exercise, looking after their mental health, and visiting their physicians regularly. Remember, if your health becomes compromised, you won’t be the best caregiver you can be.
I Resolve to Not Isolate Myself from the Rest of the World
It’s common for family caregivers to become socially isolated. This decision isn’t necessarily a conscious one. Sometimes, the demands of caregiving make it nearly impossible to seek out the social connections we value so much. This isolation isn’t healthy, however. Research suggests that caregivers are much more susceptible to depression, heart disease, and stroke. Depression later in life has also been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing dementia. So in 2020, family caregivers should resolve to get out in the world and connect with other humans. Start by making recurring dinner dates with a few of your favorite people. Sometimes an evening out can change your entire perspective.
I Resolve to Ask for Help When I Need It.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. If you’re a family caregiver, there probably aren’t many other people who can take care of your loved one the way you do. However, looking after your mental and physical health needs to be an essential component of your caregiving duties. With that in mind, caregivers should resolve to ask for help when they need it in 2020. It’s always possible that there are options available you didn’t even know existed. If family or friends are willing to give you a break for even an hour or two, it might provide the space you need to keep going.
In-home care is also an excellent option for short-term relief. For clients in Arizona, Generations Home Care offers respite care services in which our qualified caregivers take care of your loved one for a few hours or a few days at a time. This time off allows you to run errands, see a movie, or take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about. No matter what you do, respite care offers the breathing room necessary to recalibrate and refresh your perspective so you can continue in your important work.
The job of a family caregiver won’t get any easier in 2020. However, by making a few purposeful resolutions, family caregivers can lead a more healthy and balanced life. Happy New Year from Generations Home Care!
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.
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.