Caregiving is a tough job, but most caregivers selflessly dedicate their lives to providing care and nurturing their loved one’s needs without complaint. Many become stressed and overwhelmed, yet rather than reach out for help, they internalize it all until it eventually takes a toll on their own health and well-being. As we look to a new year, caregivers can take steps to reduce stress, improve their lives, and continue to provide the best care for their loved ones with these lifehacks.
There are dozens of simple changes you can implement easily in the home to provide a more functional living space for your aging loved one. If mobility is a challenge, consider modifying the home for one-level living, eliminating the need for your loved one to navigate stairs. Install grab bars in the bathroom and get a shower chair for safer bathing.
Use strategies such as attaching photos to cabinet doors and drawers in the kitchen, which can make finding needed items simpler for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It doesn’t always take a substantial amount of money to make life easier; simple changes throughout the home can make a big difference and foster independence among older adults.
Even if you keep a daily planner, tracking appointments, medications, and other daily tasks can easily become overwhelming for caregivers. Apps like iBiomed and Balance can help you keep tabs on everything that’s important, from medication reminders to notes for healthcare providers, therapies, nutritional requirements, and more.
Many apps that help caregivers manage their daily demands enable you to collaborate and share information with family members and other caregivers who share in the caregiving load or simply help out by running errands or taking care of household tasks, so they’re also an ideal way to let others know how they can help without actually needing to ask.
In addition to making simple changes throughout the home to help your loved one regain some independence while maintaining safety, a few small changes can also aid caregivers in minimizing stress. If you’re overwhelmed and running late, spending 10 minutes desperately searching for your car keys is the last thing you need. That’s why establishing a place for everything – and keeping everything in its place – is a strategic way to eliminate unnecessary stress from your life.
Whether it’s a corkboard for posting important reminders and to-do lists, a large desk calendar hung on the wall by the door to remind you of upcoming appointments, or a bowl placed by the door to hold your car keys and wallet, simple strategies and habits can be powerful tools that help you keep your mind free of unnecessary clutter so that you can focus your mental and physical energy on what’s important.
If you don’t have someone who can take grocery shopping off your plate, you can make it simpler using a few savvy hacks. Even if you have the time to make a grocery list, odds are you’ll probably forget something important. Taking a picture of the inside of the fridge and pantry provides an easy point of reference when you think of something you might need but aren’t sure if you already have it.
Rather than run to the store each day to buy the essentials for preparing the evening meal, sites like MyFridgeFood.com make it easy to plan meals using only the ingredients you already have on hand. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or another health condition that makes eating difficult, look into various tools and utensils designed to address specific challenges. For example, Liftware makes a variety of eating utensils and attachments with stabilization features to make it easier for people with unsteady hands to eat independently.
There are tons of tricks and hacks caregivers can use to make their lives more organized, more functional, and less stressful. Commit to implementing simple strategies to combat stress in 2017 and make it your best year yet.