Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 10 Caregiver Resolutions for 2014

This is a guest post written by David Wallace, CEO of Senior Helpers of San Diego

One in three people will be making a New Year’s resolution during that sixty-second descent of the crystal ball in Times Square. In fact, studies show *that those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to successfully change their behavior.

This year, Senior Helpers, one of the largest in-home care agencies in the nation, is asking all caregivers to make a New Year’s Resolution list and check it twice.

Once that countdown is over, 10,000 people will officially hit senior status each day of the New Year. That means many adult children will suddenly find themselves taking on a new role as caregiver for their aging parent/s. At Senior Helpers, we’re encouraging all caregivers, families and professionals to take a moment of reflection for the New Year and write down their Top 10 Caregiving Resolutions. Something as simple as writing down their goals for the New Year really can help them cope emotionally through this challenging stage in their lives.

Research reveals* that the readiness to change is the single most predictor when it comes to whether your New Year’s resolutions will be successful. Family caregiving has become so mainstream that many Baby Boomers are working an average of more than 20 hours/week OUTSIDE of their normal 40 hour work week. The individual feeling most of this stress is often the middle-aged, eldest daughter, who is also working. If you’re feeling the stresses of caregiving, here are some resolutions Senior Helpers recommends.

Senior Helpers’ Top 10 Caregiving Resolutions: 

1. I am doing my best – no one is perfect – and I won’t allow myself to drown in guilt.
2. Receiving advice from others only makes me stronger, not weaker. It’s okay to ask friends and family, or agencies like Senior Helpers, for guidance.
3. I promise to take care of myself and my health, and to not cancel doctor appointments.
4. I promise to make time for myself, alone. And I won’t hesitate to ask for help to achieve that or feel guilty about it.
5. I will say “no” to requests when I feel my schedule is too full for one more thing.
6. I will always keep in mind that the senior I care for did not choose their illness or disability.
7. I will reach out for help if I feel caregiver burnout or signs of depression.
8. I will make time for my own family members – they’re important too.
9. I will remind myself that the healthier and happier I am as an individual, the better caregiver I will be.
10. If I’m having a tough day, I will slow down, back up and try again.

We believe one of the most important resolutions listed above is for caregivers to not be afraid to reach out for help. Six months into the New Year, only **46% of people are still making good on their promises. Whether you chose an agency like Senior Helpers or an adult day program like the Glenner Centers, we're all here to help give caregivers a break, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time.

David Wallace serves as Vice Chair of the Glenner Memory Care Centers board. He has been an active volunteer with our organization for more than five years, and has had a lifelong journey himself as a caregiver - all four of his grandparents had one form or another of dementia.

For more information on Senior Helpers and to find out more about local in-home care services, visit or call 619-450-4686.

Sources: *American Psychological Association **Yahoo News!, Health Magazine, National Alliance for Caregiving

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