Being the caregiver for a family member is a loving, selfless act, but it also can create unique challenges.
You may be the one taking on caregiving for a loved one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a team effort.
With some careful planning, the challenges of caregiving for a family member can become a bit easier for everyone involved.
We’ll share tips for creating a care schedule, streamlining family routines, and divvying up responsibilities. Everyone involved can find some relief and peace of mind.
How to Plan a Care Schedule and Family Routines
For many, caregiving is far from the only job or responsibility in their life. You most likely have another job, whether full time or part time, and also have children and housekeeping duties.
With so much going on, how is it possible to find the time to provide proper care to a family member?
Unfortunately, many caregivers in these types of situations suffer from burnout, with their own health suffering under the pressures of providing good care.
The good news is, there are ways to find peace and relief. No matter how long you have been providing care, be it one week, one year, or much longer, you can take immediate steps to lighten the load and streamline your routines.
Define Your Responsibilities
The first step to creating any successful plan is to define your goals, needs, and your own role.
Take some time to write out the answers to the following questions, which will help you identify your current and future needs.
- What daily tasks must be completed? You can write out the tasks for your senior loved one as well as all other members of the family, including children.
- Which tasks must be performed weekly, monthly, or yearly? This may include filling medications or making certain doctor’s appointments.
- What do we each need to be successful?
- Who can we ask for support?
- What are our care strengths and weaknesses?
- What home improvements need to be made, for caregiving purposes or other?
- Define the long-term care goals
Finding the answers to these questions can help you take control of your situation and get organized.
Caring for a family member can be a successful team effort. Each person in the household can take on a role to support each other.
This list also will help you identify other family members who can step in to provide services or support. This might include siblings, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or others.
Share Family Caregiver Challenges with Others
Now that you have identified what your family caregiver challenges are and who may be able to help, you can call a family meeting and start allocating responsibilities.
Starting with the closest family members, which may include children in the household, you can ask for help with specific tasks such as:
- Picking up groceries or medications every week
- Cleaning certain rooms of the house
- Spending quality time with your loved one
Once the members of your household understand their responsibilities, you may choose to call other family members and ask for help with tasks that can be performed outside of the household. This might look like:
- Asking your brother to keep track of your loved one’s bank accounts
- Asking your sister to attend doctor’s appointments with your loved one
- Having a handy nephew install a ramp outside your home
- Inviting a cousin to video chat with your loved one twice a month
Tasks can be tailored to everyone’s individual strengths and abilities, as well as their preferences.
Practice Self Care
Sharing responsibilities with other family members will help, but if you are the primary caregiver, you still have a lot to balance.
Check in on yourself often to make sure your basic needs are being met. This includes staying hydrated, eating nourishing meals and snacks, exercising regularly, and practicing your preferred methods of stress relief.
Stay open to the idea that your needs may change over time, as well. Even if you currently are comfortable with your daily tasks, don’t be afraid to ask for additional help in the future.
When Family Caregiver Challenges Become Too Much
No matter how solid of a caregiver plan you have, sometimes the care needs of our loved ones become more than what we are able to provide.
They may need to move to a community that has on-site medical professionals or rehabilitation services they can access daily. If your loved one is experiencing memory loss, they especially may need extra support as their condition advances over time.
If this becomes the case for your family, Kensington Park Senior Living provides safe, secure assisted living and memory care options. No matter the level of care your loved one needs, they can find a home in our community.
YOU, as a caregiver, matter to us as much as our residents do, and can also find a home with us. We understand that caregiving for someone can, at times, be a demanding commitment. We also believe it is one you should not undertake alone.
Let Kensington Park be your trusted resource for information and the comforting ally you need. Join our Caregiver Connect program, a monthly support group for family caregivers that is open to our current families as well as external caregivers who are at home with their parents/spouses.
Meetings are run by care manager Leslie Mason, LCSW-C, and are a time to connect with other caregivers and discuss common challenges in a welcoming, private setting.
Join Us on the second Monday of every month from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, via Zoom.