Your Family Caregiver Self-Assessment for the New Year

How are your resolutions coming along for the new year? Are you sticking to your diet? Is your workout plan manageable? Resolutions are a great way to set goals for the rest of the year. I love including healthy lifestyle goals, but also setting enjoyable challenges like reading 50 books this year. Resolutions can help put a healthy focus on ourselves, allowing us to reevaluate our health, desires, and goals (personal and otherwise).

If you are a family caregiver you may already be laughing at the thought of making resolutions this new year, let alone keeping it! I get it, your plate is full, probably overflowing, but that is exactly why you need to set some resolutions for your new year. Taking time to make your own health and happiness a priority is crucial, not only for yourself, but for those you care for.

But, before you can create any resolutions for 2017, you may need to take the time to assess what is going on in your unique care journey. I challenge you to take some time, sit down with paper and pen, and honestly assess your life.

    1. List primary responsibilities. What are your primary responsibilities? Think of this question in broad categories. For example, Work, Family, Home Management, Caring for Mom.
    2. What is slipping through the cracks? When you enter the world of family caregiving, it is rare not to have certain aspects of ourselves and our responsibilities slip through the cracks. Whether it’s our own house or meal planning, or our personal care and attention. Honestly, evaluate areas in your life that are literally or figuratively collecting dust.
    3. Prioritize. What items on your list are most important? In other words, what can you allow to “slip through the cracks?” Creating a manageable and realistic schedule can decrease stress and anxiety that may come from not accomplishing specific tasks on an unrealistic schedule.
    4. Request input. Take your categories to a friend, spouse or counselor and ask for their input. Make sure it’s someone who understands you and your responsibilities. Do they notice a category that was left out? What do they think about your priority list?  The challenge is being open to another person’s reflections of your life. It sometimes allows us to see our world through a different angle.
    5. Ask for help, if necessary. I have no doubt that this will be the hardest step for many people. Once you look over your categories and priorities, you may discover that it still isn’t possible to get everything done that needs to be done, without suffering the consequences. If this is the case, you may have to empower others to step in. It may start with asking another family member to help with mom’s dinner or housekeeping. Or, you may need consistent help through home care services.

If you have reached the end of your self-assessment and have discovered that the next step is home care services for your mother, father, or spouse, there are flexible and affordable care options available. You may decide you need just a couple hours a week or perhaps it’s time for complete, 24/7 care.  Senior home care can provide a perfectly tailored plan to fit your needs.

Great job on assessing your responsibilities! Now, what do you want your resolutions to be this year? Don’t forget to include fun resolutions too!

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