Time Management Tips for CaretakersApril 4, 2023
Family caregivers wear many hats. They play the role of caretaker, financial advisor, and companion, and then they go home to be a worker, a spouse, or a parent. It is a lot to juggle for anyone, but when a loved one requires care to live healthfully and happily at home, it is necessary. The only way one can handle all of these tasks is with proper time management.
If you provide care to an elderly parent or loved one, utilizing these time management tips for caretakers will help you move about your work with more ease. This will help you be a better caretaker and manage your personal life more easily.
Clearly define your roles and responsibilities
If you’re sharing the caregiving responsibilities with another family member, that is fantastic. However, if you don’t discuss your separate responsibilities early on, the two of you are certain to repeat tasks that don’t need repeating. This wastes a great deal of time for both of you.
When you determine that your loved one needs support at home, it’s important you and your other family members sit down together to define who does what jobs. You may be tasked with running errands, such as grocery shopping, while your other family member might handle the housekeeping. Make sure you include your elderly loved one in this conversation, as there are likely tasks they would still like to do on their own.
Always plan ahead
With so much to take care of as a family caregiver, just showing up at the home without a plan can be paralyzing. At the beginning of each week—or even the night before—set a plan of action for yourself. Determine what to take care of throughout the week, and create a timeline to follow. This will allow you to work more effectively.
As you plan your week, don’t forget to set aside “me” time every day. In order to care for someone else in the best way possible, you have to tend to your own needs first. Even twenty minutes a day can reduce your stress and have a substantial impact on your mental health.
Prioritize your list
Once you’ve created your daily or weekly list, take a step back and determine what is most important. Just because there is something you would like to do, it doesn’t mean that it is equally as important as another task. Note what is most important, what should be completed soon, and what you would like to do but could be put off as necessary.
Once you’ve categorized these tasks, list what to do first. Don’t make too exhaustive of a list, because not meeting all of your goals can be discouraging. Instead, focus on three to five tasks. This range of tasks is generally easy to complete in a day, and if you finish them all and can do more, that’s great!
If you’re not organized, completing anything is twice as hard. When you’re first starting out as your loved one’s caregiver, take some time to organize their home. It may be a daunting job based on the current state of their home, but it will benefit you greatly in the long run. Once everything is organized, you’ll be able to find precisely what you need, when you need it.
A great organizational tool to remember is the “touch it once” rule. When you pick up your loved one’s mail, don’t just drop it on the counter. Immediately file it, pay a bill, or throw it away. This goes for any sort of chore that can accumulate in the home, such as clothes or kitchen items. This time-saving rule will boost your productivity.
Manage your expectations
As a caregiver, you may have the impulse to get everything done all at once and to do it perfectly. This will not always be possible. Don’t set astronomically high standards for yourself that lead to fatigue or burnout.
In caregiving, nothing will ever go exactly as you planned. Accept this as a fact, and accommodate as necessary when something does happen. In doing so, you’ll overcome adversity with far more ease.
Don’t be afraid to hire the help of a caregiver
There may come times when you need a break. Other times, things pile up so high that you need another pair of hands to care for a loved one. Whatever the circumstance is, an at-home caregiver can help. These professionals are trained to provide the compassionate, diligent care your loved one needs to remain at home.
If you’re looking for opportunities to be paid for the work you already do, we can help. Our family caregiver program gives you the opportunity to be trained in proper standards of care so you can be compensated for your work. For more information on either of our programs, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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