7 New Year's Resolutions for Caregivers


You may have already resolved to quit smoking, lose weight, or save for retirement, but have you made any resolutions to enrich your role as a caregiver?

Visualize a Better Year

Whatever promises you make to yourself, consider tapping into the power of visualization. Many psychologists and spiritual leaders believe that when you visualize your goals and imagine yourself completing them successfully, you are more likely to succeed.

As you craft your resolutions, remember that you are not obligated to make them known to outside parties. While conventional wisdom says that a shared goal is more likely to be fulfilled, research directly contradicts this claim.

Here are seven resolutions for you or a family caregiver in your life to consider:

1. Use New Time Management Tools

A common grievance among caregivers (especially Sandwich Generation caregivers) is that there is not enough time to do everything that needs get done.

Caregivers can try innovative technologies to help manage this role. For example, a new app called CareZone (available on smartphones, tablets, and computers) helps family caregivers and parents “organize files, contacts, and medications, and coordinate with family and other caregivers.” Other apps to help caregivers include Caregiver’s Touch, which has similar features to the CareZone app, and Personal Caregiver, which can help caregivers keep track of their parents’ (and their own) medications.

2. Plan with Your Parents

It can be uncomfortable and upsetting for families and seniors to have discussions about plans for long-term-care or end-of-life care. Many people delay or avoid these conversations because the topic can be emotionally wrenching. But these talks can’t be avoided forever, as aging and impermanence cannot be escaped through denial.

Make it a goal to overcome the discomfort and begin these tough conversations with your aging parents.

3. Get Your Loved One’s Documents in Order

Use 2017 as an opportunity to get your parent’s must-have documents (i.e. military records, living wills, marriage certificates, etc.) in order. You never know when they’ll be required, but you almost certainly will need them at some point. Procrastination will only exacerbate the issue, whereas you’ll find peace of mind knowing that you have essential documents in order.

4. Educate Yourself about Long-Term Care Costs

Many Americans fail to plan for or underestimate the costs associated with long-term care for themselves and their loved ones.

Often this failure is due to simple misconceptions and mistakes. Take the time to educate yourself about the costs associated with long-term care, and learn what insurance covers so that you aren’t stuck having to sort it out in the middle of an emergency. For example, it should be understood that Medicare is not long-term care insurance and will not help cover the costs of long-term placement at a nursing home or assisted living community. Remember as you plan that the cost of care today is not the cost of care ten years from now.

Long-term care costs are increasing at the rate of inflation. If you are unsure whether your family is financially prepared for a loved one’s long-term care needs, consider speaking with a financial planner.

5. Help Your Parent Eat Well

A stunning 3.7 million seniors were diagnosed with malnourishment during 2016, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Seniors who are having difficulty shopping or cooking, or who have poor eating habits, are especially at risk.

Learn about the unique nutritional needs of seniors and how you can help your older loved one eat well and enjoy it. This is another area where technology may be able to give you a leg up. If your loved one has an iPad or smartphone, put the free app MyNetDiary on the device. Or if you are in charge of your parent’s diet, put it on your device. It allows you to track all aspects of your or your loved one’s diet.

MyNetDiary also has specialized versions designed to help people with diabetes or heart disease eat properly.

6. Visit a Senior Community for a Lunch or Activity

Even if you’re unsure a move is on the horizon or if your loved one has no intentions of relocating, take a proactive step to visit a senior community with your parent.

Try to make it a relaxing visit to get you and your loved one’s “toes wet” so to speak. These visits can be enjoyable if you make a point of going to see an interesting event, or for a meal.

Also, if your parent does eventually move to a community, you will see that these preliminary visits help make your loved one more comfortable and at home when the need finally does arise.

If you’re planning to visit one or more senior living communities, we invite you to contact us to schedule a visit with Hearthstone.

7. Get to Know Your Parent Better

Indulge your parents’ sense of nostalgia and listen to them tell some wonderful (or weird) stories about themselves and the history of your family.

Even when we are very close to a loved one, there is always room to know them better. Think about recording your parent as they recount fond memories, or using other means to preserve the presence of your loved one for generations to come.

The Staff at Hearthstone Senior Living Can Provide The Support You Need

The staff at our independent living communities in Beaverton and Murrayhill treat each resident as a long-time friend, opposed to just a resident.

Each valued member of our community is afforded the right to live how they choose, meaning each person is able to schedule their day however they want, connect with loved ones throughout the week, and leave the premises.

You can meet with us or schedule a tour by calling Hearthstone of Beaverton at 503-641-0911 or by visiting us at:

12520 SW Hart Road
Beaverton, OR 97008

Or calling Hearthstone at Murrayhill at 503-520-0911 or stopping by at:

10880 SW Davies Rd
Beaverton, OR 97008

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Hearthstone Senior Living specializes in independent, assisted, and memory care living options in Beaverton, Oregon.

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