I know that it is popular on the first of the year for everyone to send out their “Top 10 Resolutions” of the New Year.
Well, as a caregiver, I don’t have 10. I only have five. And I think that five is enough for me to make 2015 shine.
So to that end, here are my Top 5 Resolutions as a caregiver in 2015…
I Will Get More Help
This applies both to asking the rest of the family for help and not feeling like I have to do it all, and also to finding the resources to make my life as a caregiver easier.
On the first front, it has become obvious that in my personal situation it is no longer possible for me to safely bring Mom out of the nursing home by myself due to her lack of mobility, now needing an oxygen tank, etc…
Video Overview of Top New Years Resolutions for Caregivers
Also, my family and I have come to the conclusion that we can no longer lift my mother in her wheelchair to get her in and out of the my brothers house. There are only 2 steps involved but over Thanksgiving in the process of lifting her (in a brand new wheelchair) the wheelchair almost fell apart. And my brother and I definitely felt it in our backs lifting her.
So how do we get her in the house safely without having to go to the chiropractor? A wheelchair ramp.
You can read my write up about the wheelchair ramp here but I will say that it made taking Mom out of the nursing home for Christmas a WHOLE lot easier.
I Will Laugh More
This is really about not sweating the small stuff, and it is going to require a change in philosophy in my part. Caregiving can be very stressful, and that means that even the smallest molehills can easily turn into mountains in the eyes of the caregiver.
One way to deal with this is for you to start getting the help you need…and learning how to ask for it (see point #1)
I Will Take Care of Myself
One of the best ways for you to relieve stress and feel better about yourself is for you to start taking care of yourself. The problem for caregivers in doing this can be broken down to two points…
- A lack of time
- Emotional eating…which many caregivers use as a method of dealing with the stress of caregiving.
Let’s talk about the emotional eating first. I have already written about this here so if you take a moment, read that post and take some recommendations to heart it will help with the emotional eating.
Now let’s talk about the other part of this…finding the time to exercise. And that is going to be as tough.
And I have already written that article too. Here are some ideas to finding the time to exercise that help me.
I Will Spend More Time With Those I Love
What seniors want for the holidays is our time. And our time is our most precious commodity, so in many ways it is the most difficult
thing for us to give.
But the dividends that giving of our time will reap are far greater than the actual time we invest. So while it is difficult, this is one of the things I will do…and you need to do as a caregiver as well.
I Will Learn How To Say No When I Need To Say No
This is my single greatness weakness. And it is a result of the emotional hold that my mother has had over me all my life.
And I know that many caregivers are in the same situation. For this, there are no easy answers. The emotional hold of the past, combined with the weakened state of my mother and my difficulty in saying no to someone I see as being in that weakened state that makes this situation even more difficult.
And there are no easy answers to this.
Case in point. Mom just asked me to take her to a doctors appointment. Now that sounds reasonable enough, but…
- Being that she is in a nursing home, she has access to neurologists already
- She had an argument with the staff neurologist (because he told her what she NEEDED to hear as possessed to what she WANTED to hear) and now there is a personality conflict
- I went with her back in 2013 to four neurologists appointments, talking time off from work, and ultimately she ignored the recommendations of those doctors in 2013
So why should I say yes to this request?
Now, looking at the situation from a logical standpoint there is absolutely no reason to do so. And it should be very easy to say no.
But it isn’t. Because it is at this point that all of the old emotional holds that our parents use to manipulate us come to the forefront.
Ever hear, “After all I’ve done for you I can’t believe you won’t do [insert unreasonable request here] for me” before?
Your parents and mine must be cut from the same cloth.
But the fact of the matter is that unless we break the emotional ties of the past and summon the courage to say no…not to everything, but definitely to somethings…we will continue to allow those we care for to control us.
And this is the biggest resolution of all for me this year.