As our parents get older, you may find yourself helping them with more and more tasks and activities.
Taking care of one’s parent is, without a doubt, one of the most gratifying activities that one could ever undertake. After all, this is the person who nurtured you. However, over time, they will need help with even the most basic of tasks, such as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), and you might find yourself in a situation where you need to provide long term care for them.
Managing elderly parents is an extremely involving activity that takes love, patience, skill, and a lot of time. You will have to learn how to become a caregiver so you can provide proper in home care.
But, how do you juggle other aspects of your life?
Trying to do all these things at once without a proper strategy is what causes chronic stress and burnouts in a lot of adult children. This is why you need to learn how to budget your time. Good time management skills will help you have an easier schedule.
This is not only beneficial for you, but also for the care recipient as well. The following are time management tips that adult children should consider utilizing.
1. Make a List
This is one of the most fundamental principles of time management. Making lists helps you in organizing your tasks and prioritizing them. It breaks down your workload into sizeable, manageable chunks. Utilize the following tips for effective list-making:
- Utilize online resources. Free list-making tools are available online.
- Prioritize. Write down all the tasks you need to complete then arrange them in order of priority. Handle them in that order so you do not have to think about what you should do next after completing a task.
- Consider multi-tasking. If there are activities that you can pair together and still execute well, consider doing so. For example, you can combine cleaning with an activity such as engaging them in a memory quiz. However, activities such as taking care of bills need your undivided attention.
If you are their long term care giver, requesting assistance and delegating tasks will allow you to free up some time so you can handle personal errands.
- Having a personal care agreement with friends or family. Check whether your close friends or family members can help with some tasks.
- Reduce financial stress: If a family member is unable to provide their time, find out whether they are able to pitch in and help with some of the bills.
- Hire a professional occasionally. Enlisting the services of a professional in home care services provider for a few hours every week will help relieve some stress.
3. Schedule Breaks
Even though this may seem counterintuitive, scheduling for and taking regular breaks will help tremendously in boosting your productivity. Moreover, taking breaks also helps in preventing burnouts. Consider:
Setting non-negotiable breaks
Consider scheduling a few 15-minute breaks spaced out throughout the day. Have a 30-minute one as well. These breaks are not negotiable unless you have an emergency making you unable to take them.
Have some ‘me’ time
Utilize your breaks to do things that you enjoy. This could be filling out a crossword puzzle, reading, talking to a friend over the phone, walking outside, yoga, or meditation.
Have a date night
Ensure the at least once a week, you take a night out to spend with a loved one or your significant other. Also, do not talk about work during your date, let yourself think about other things during that time.
Plan a small vacation
Every once in a while, plan for a short trip. It does not need to be extravagant, let it be small and inexpensive. For example, you can go to the beach or camping. The goal is to have something to look forward to. Plan for a big holiday at least once a year.
4. Healthy Eating and Exercise
The benefits of exercise and healthy eating, are almost unending. However, when you do not have enough time on your hands, taking care of your body can be almost impossible.
Nonetheless, exercise and healthy eating become even more important when you are under stress.
- Getting more from the day. Exercise reduces lethargy and increases energy, thus allowing you to get more done during the day. This is why, if possible, you should get in an hour of exercise every morning.
- Boost Your Mood. When you are eating right and exercising regularly, your spirits will be lifted so you are able to maintain a good mood, which is important in caregiving.
- Make self-care a priority. By making your health a priority, you will increase feelings of confidence and self-worth.
- Be positive. When you exercise, you feel good. This will make you radiate positive energy that your care recipient will benefit from.
5. Cultivate a Calm Mind
Any geriatric care manager will advise you to take good care of your mental health. One of the essentials of successful time management is a healthy mental state. Making good choices is much harder when you are under stress.
- Breathing deep to relax. When you are feeling overwhelmed, take a couple of deep breaths to calm yourself and gather your thoughts.
- Routine meditation. Consider using your breaks to meditate. It is incredibly helpful in relieving stress.
- Putting things into perspective. We often burden our minds with trivial matters that seem big until you put them in perspective. Avoid being a perfectionist. It is likely that you are not going to accomplish everything that you set out to do.
- This is okay as long as your loved one is taken care of and the most important tasks have been accomplished.
- Being empathetic and compassionate. Remember that your loved ones are just going through the normal effects of aging. Thus, understand that they may not be who they once were. This empathy will give you peace of mind and not feel overwhelmed.
No Easy Task
Managing elderly parents is not an easy job. It is a full-time engagement. Thus, in addition to learning how to become a caregiver, you will also need to know how to budget your time so you can have time for other things as well. Consider utilizing the above tips to help you manage your time more efficiently.
However, if you are in a position where you cannot leave your job, consider contracting professional in home care services. These are individuals who are trained in caring for the elderly to ensure they are comfortable.
A personal care agreement will see to it that your loved one gets all the care they need without you needing to be there full-time. Also, consider getting the advice of a geriatric care manager on how to best take care of your aging parents.