Millions of Americans each year selflessly donate their time and talents to care for friends and relatives. For the average informal caregiver, time is the most valuable commodity of all. Finding enough hours in the day to juggle caregiving with a household and job can push even the most seasoned caregivers to the breaking point. If this describes you, these time management tips will help you get more done with less stress – ultimately empowering you to provide your loved one with the nurturing they deserve.
Set Aside “Me” Time First
While managing all their daily responsibilities, most caregivers don’t allow enough time for themselves. However, no one is productive when physically, mentally, or emotionally depleted. A reliable way to avoid caregiver burnout is to set aside a few hours each week and spend that “me” time doing something you enjoy, like learning a new hobby or dining with friends.
Plan for Present and Future Needs
Even if only takes five minutes, planning helps you avoid last-minute stress and conserve precious time when all eyes are on you. A caregiving strategy allows you to plan around your work schedule and kids’ activities while addressing your loved one’s present and future needs. Seeing the “big picture” more clearly will also give you enough time to ask for help when needed.
Prioritize Caregiving Tasks
Not clearly seeing the overall picture and feeling overwhelmed can cause you to waste time. Assess your loved one’s care needs and then use what you’ve learned to compile a prioritized list of their caregiving needs. For instance, you may need to get Dad out of the house more or help him pay his monthly bills.
List-supporting mobile apps such as Microsoft To Do or Google Tasks are newer organization tools that help streamline caregiving. Once it’s ready, update your list weekly or monthly as priorities change.
Use a Team Approach
“Many hands make light work,” and caregiving is no exception. Form a caregiving team made up of friends, relatives, and neighbors. Based on each member’s time and talents, clearly define their roles and responsibilities to avoid duplicating tasks.
For example, if your sibling knows a lot about food and nutrition, ask them to help with Dad’s meal planning and preparation. If your best friend is a CNA, they could assist Mom with her personal care needs. Meet with your team regularly to discuss your loved one’s changing needs and how to address them.
Touch it Once
In addition to caregiving, this skill is valuable in the workplace. While only touching them once, use a filing system to organize your loved one’s important receipts, bank statements, and medical bills. For instance, instead of opening Mom’s retirement account statement and leaving it on the kitchen table, file the document somewhere you can easily access it.
Use the same approach to put away caregiving supplies, newly washed clothes, groceries, and other items. And finally, be sure to shred any unwanted documents that contain your loved one’s sensitive information.
Expect Detours Along the Way
No matter how hard you prepare, your caregiving plan will get sidetracked by a crisis or two. Perhaps Mom was recently diagnosed with dementia, or Dad fell down the stairs (again). Rather than dread the inevitable detours, use your newfound time management skills to anticipate change and formulate a backup plan that provides your loved one with the nurturing they deserve.
Hire a Professional Respite Caregiver
Even the most efficient caregivers eventually need to take a break, or “respite.” When hired through a reputable home care provider, a professional respite caregiver is trained to step in and provide the assistance your family needs – making them an essential part of your time management strategy!
Flexible In-Home Respite Care for Families in SW Florida
Trying to balance caregiving with everything else on your plate can be overwhelming. When you need to take a well-deserved break, contact the compassionate respite care professionals at Home Instead. Conveniently available in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte Country, FL, our senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.