When you agreed to take on the role of being a family caregiver for your elderly loved one, you committed to giving your time, energy, effort, and resources to help them fulfill their needs and manage their daily lives in the ways that are right for them. This means that you added a variety of tasks and responsibilities into your schedule, possibly making yourself feel overwhelmed and as if you do not have enough of that time, energy, and effort to go around. Simplifying your caregiver tasks can be a valuable way of ensuring that you are able to handle the things that need to be done in the most effective and efficient way possible, but also of easing your caregiver stress and protecting your health and well-being throughout your care journey.
Use these tips to help you simplify your caregiver responsibilities:
- Compound errands. Avoid backtracking when it comes to the errands that you have to run during the week. If you know that you are going to need to go to the grocery store for your family and for your parent, do not go twice. Instead, compile individual lists and then a master list and do all of the shopping at once. You can then distribute the groceries to the appropriate homes. This saves time but can also allow you to take advantage of bulk deals, saving money as well.
- Compound tasks at home. Doing tasks for your parent at the same time as your family helps you to streamline your efforts while still getting the results that you want. For example, if your parent lives alone, they likely only produce a small amount of laundry each day. Rather than doing these small loads at their home, pack up their laundry during your visits and bring it to your home. You can then wash their laundry along with your family’s, trimming time, energy, and resources from the task. You can also prepare larger meals and divide them among your family and your parent, stocking their freezer or providing a meal for the next day without any extra effort.
- Multitask. While some believe that there is no such thing as true multitasking, you can simplify your caregiver tasks by working on more than one at once. For example, put in a load of laundry to wash and then tidy the kitchen while it is washing. If you are baking bread, use the heat of the dryer to help it rise while clothes are drying. Bring a notepad and pencil with you when you are going to appointments with your parent and use them to make lists and plans. Utilizing your time this way can help each task seem less daunting and your schedule seem more open.
If you have found that your parent’s needs have increased to the point that you are no longer able to handle them effectively and efficiently, or your own limitations and challenges have changed and you do not feel confident that you can do what you need to do any longer, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting care for them. A home care provider can fill any care gaps that might exist and help to ensure that your elderly loved one gets everything that they need to stay healthy, happy, and safe. These services can also encourage your loved one to maintain a lifestyle that is more active, independent, and fulfilling throughout their later years. This can be instrumental in easing your caregiver stress and boosting your own mental and emotional health and well-being as they age in place.