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We are more than a week into the New Year, at the point where many New Year’s resolutions begin to fall by the wayside. In fact, research shows that up to 80 percent of resolutions have been forgotten by mid-February. If you are a caregiver, taking on the commitment of making New Year’s resolutions may in itself feel like one more burden. But what if you made yourself just a handful of promises designed to actually reduce stress and help you navigate this difficult time? With that in mind, this year I am proposing a short list of resolutions for the caregiver.

  1. Do something for yourself every day – Yes, I said it and it’s number 1 for a reason. Do something that brings you joy, whether that means talking to friends, meditating, drawing, laughing, reading, taking a quick walk or drinking a cup of tea. It may be the briefest respite, but it is important that make that time for yourself every day.
  2. Take a step back for perspective – All of this is temporary, the good and the bad. You are doing an amazing job.
  3. Be prepared – Organize documents and lists so that you know where to find them when they are needed. Think in terms of medical history, medication lists, Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy. You don’t want to be caught off guard having to search for these basics during a crisis. Time is health in many situations.
  4. Ask for and graciously receive help – If there is anything other family members, friends, members of congregations, or others can help with, ask them. Give them concrete tasks and allow them to complete those tasks. Accept that they may not do something exactly the way you would do it, and that’s probably okay. You may be surprised by what people are more than happy to do if they only know it’s needed.
  5. Contact a Patient Advocate – Care Answered can help you get prepared, arrange to have the right help in place and allow you and your loved ones to enjoy your time together while we take care of the business of getting healthcare done.

These simple yet important steps can help you start the year on the right foot and experience the caregiving journey with minimal stress. Happy New Year!