As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a time to look back at the year that has passed, as well as a time to look ahead to 2017. If you’re one of the nearly 20 million Americans who acts as an unpaid home care provider for an elderly or disabled loved one, it’s also a time to take a step back and evaluate.
At Visiting Angels, we know how much work and effort goes into being a home care provider for a member of your family. We believe the New Year represents a chance to reset, refresh, and reconsider the ways you can better care for your loved one and — just as importantly — yourself.
With that in mind, here are three New Years’ resolutions that family home care providers might consider making in 2017…
Resolve to Ask for Help When It’s Needed
When providing care for an aging family member, it can be easy to hoist the world on your shoulders. If you’re the sort of person who tries to do it all on your own, you might want to make a resolution to actively recognize when help is needed. When that happens, it’s important that you speak up to ensure you receive the help you need. Whether that help comes from a friend, a family member, or even the person you care for, it can go a long way.
Resolve to Practice Patience
Caring for a family member is different than caring for a stranger. Often, old habits and behavioral patterns kick in — and not always in a good way. This can make it tough for family home care providers to be patient with the loved ones they care for.
If you find that it’s sometimes hard to be patient with your loved one, you might want to consider strategies for making patience easier to practice. Some of these can be as simple and recognizing symptoms of impatience and correcting your body’s response to stress triggers, i.e. taking deep breaths or relaxing when you become tense. Others take more mental and emotional energy, like active listening, but are more often than not worth the effort.
Resolve to Be Aware of Stress Signals
It’s never been more important for family home care providers to be aware of the risk of caregiver stress. When caregiver stress goes unrecognized, it can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and collapse. But when it’s acknowledged, you can take active steps to manage your stress and your symptoms. By refamiliarizing yourself with the signs of caregiver stress, you can make it easier to identify those signs in yourself and react.
Visiting Angels is America’s choice in home care. If you’re a family home care provider in need of respite care or home care assistance, call us today at 800-365-4189 and connect with your local care agency.