Practical New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers of Older Adults

Being the caregiver for an older adult might be one of the most challenging jobs you’ve ever had.

Today, many harried caregivers are attempting to balance the demands of family, home and career, in addition to caring for their older loved ones.

As a result, caregiver stress has become a national concern as increasing numbers of adult children are called upon to take care of their older parents or close relatives. Caregivers of older adults with dementia have even been called the “second patient” or the “second victim” of the disease because providing continuous care to an older adult with memory loss has been shown to have serious consequences for the caregivers’ own health and wellbeing. 

And on top of all that, there are also the common feelings of caregiver guilt – that gnawing sense that you are never doing enough or doing it well enough in caring for your loved one.

If you’ve ever felt stressed out, overwhelmed, fatigued or mentally exhausted from your role as a caregiver, you are not alone. Therefore, it is time for all caregivers to begin to provide meaningful care and attention to themselves! 

And why not start with your New Year’s resolutions?

Resolve to Make the New Year a Healthier and Happier One for You

Says Colleen Dwyer, RN, NHA, Executive Director and Administrator of Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, “As we begin the New Year, it’s an ideal time to think about the value of your own life and ways you can resolve to make it the best life it can be – for your benefit and all of those who love and care about you. 

“Always remember that your life is important, too, in ways that go well beyond your role as a caregiver. So, as you think about the New Year, be sure to place ‘self-care’ at the top of your list of resolutions. You are not being selfish in doing so. Rather, you are being practical and smart. Your physical and emotional wellbeing is not only essential to you, it is also important for all of the people in your life – including the person you are caring for.”

Consider These Practical New Year's Resolutions for Caregivers

While every caregiver’s situation will be different, the New Year offers all caregivers the same chance for personal reflection and renewal. Use the opportunity to think about your life as a caregiver and the ways you can make that role easier and more rewarding – while also making your life beyond caregiving happier and more fulfilling. Then, commit your ideas to a formal list of resolutions and resolve to keep them to the best of your ability. 

To help you get started, the article, “13 New Year's Resolutions for Caregivers,”  by noted caregiving author, consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack offers many insightful caregiver resolutions that could apply to your own caregiving experience. For example:

  1. I give myself permission to not keep the following resolutions or to keep them only partway.
  2. When I feel I am imperfect, I will remember that guilt is not an option as long as I know I did the best I could, given the circumstances.
  3. I will find time alone for myself, even though that seems impossible. That may mean asking for help from people and sources I’ve never considered before.
  4. Regardless of how deserving the source, I will say no to requests for my time when I know I can’t add any more to my plate.
  5. I will remember that family members and friends who are not care receivers deserve some of my time. This may mean a little less of my attention will go to my care receiver, and that is okay.
  6. I will follow through with my own health care appointments and screenings, including dental cleanings and eye exams.
  7. 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.
  8. I will remember that seeking advice from professionals, organizations and fellow caregivers is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  9. I will remember that my care receiver didn’t choose the illness or disability that he or she is living with.
  10. I will remember that I didn’t choose this life for my care receiver either, so I won’t be a martyr to their illness.
  11. I will remember that taking care of my own needs isn’t selfish. Taking care of myself benefits everyone I love.
  12. I will get appropriate help for myself if depression, anxiety or other mental health issues become apparent to me, my friends or my family.
  13. I will be open to alternative ways of caring for myself. This can include massage, aroma therapy, some form of meditation, exercise, attending a support group, seeking out respite care or meeting with a therapist. 

We hope you will take these practical caregiver resolutions to heart and use them to help make the New Year a healthy and happy one for you and all the people in your life. 

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.” 

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts! 

If you have comments or questions about our blog TOPIC, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived! 

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online. 

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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