It’s been a stressful year for everyone, and 2021 is starting that way too.  On top of everything else, if you’re a caregiver for a parent, that stress can be far more serious.  Senior Care Partners PACE put out a very useful list of “New Year's Resolutions for Caregivers”, put together by Tim Mitchel.  Chief Executive Officer Laura Ferrara from Senior Health Partners was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins to off these great ideas for caregivers to have a healthier, less-stressed 2021. The list was published in the latest issue of Senior Times, in case you want to clip it out and put it on your refrigerator.

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

I give myself permission to not keep the following resolutions or to keep them only partway. This may seem like a strange way to begin a list of New Year’s resolutions. But the reality is that sometimes the pressure of having resolutions hanging over your head, on top of your caregiving responsibilities, can be overwhelming. So, it’s important that you give yourself the flexibility to not keep every resolution every day. It’s okay to be imperfect and to let some things slide.

  1. I will not allow guilt to control my life – Almost every caregiver feels a sense of guilt as it relates to their responsibilities. While you likely can’t always control the immediate feeling of guilt, you can control how you let that feeling impact your life. Recognize your feeling of guilt, but remind yourself that living in guilt is not an option and you are doing the best you can, given the circumstances. Then, let go of the guilt because ultimately you are in control of your feelings and emotions.
  2. I will find time alone for myself, even though that seems impossible. I will ask for help from people and resources I’ve never considered before.
  3. I will say “no” to requests for my time when I know I can’t add any more to my plate.
  4. I will follow through with my own medical appointments and screenings, including dental cleanings and eye exams.
  5. I will find a way to monitor my own energy levels so I can recharge my batteries before I hit the point of exhaustion and burnout.
  6. I will remember that seeking advice from professionals, organizations, and fellow caregivers is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  7. I will remember that taking care of my own needs isn’t selfish, but it benefits everyone I love.
  8. I will get appropriate help for myself if depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues become apparent to me, my friends, or my family. I will listen to others when they tell me I need to get help and will no longer respond with, “Oh, I’ll be alright.”
  9. I will be open to alternative ways of caring for myself. I will make sure I schedule a massage, aromatherapy, meditation, exercise, attend a caregiver support group, participate in an online caregiver group, seek out respite care, or meet with a therapist.

Miles for Memories is a grassroots organization seeking to create solutions for those impacted by dementia through movement, programming, and research.

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