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Balancing Caregiving and Life

Caregiving for your elderly relatives can feel like a full-time job, and oftentimes caregivers already have a full-time job, children to take care of, and hobbies that they love. How do we balance caregiving and everything else in life? The key to striking a balance is to have open communication, accepting help from others, and planning ahead. Here are some tips to find balance with caregiving and different aspects of life.

Work and Caregiving Balance

Communicate with your supervisor

According to caregiver.org, only 56% of caregivers report that their work supervisor is aware of their caregiving responsibilities. It’s important to communicate with your team at work and the support you need from them. This could include flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home

Offer helpful resources for your employees

If you are an employer, it can be helpful to have a caregiving policy in place and resources available to your employees such as contact info for your local Agency on Aging, geriatric care managers, and mental health counselors. 

Brush up on your options

Familiarize yourself with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and how it may apply to your situation. Also, did you know you can get paid for caregiving for an elderly loved one? Here’s how.

Caregiving and Family Balance

It takes a village

How does one balance caring for an elderly loved one and prioritizing their spouse and kids? Planning and seeking help from others. Just like you use a calendar to keep track of meetings and deadlines at work, use a detailed calendar to keep track of family activities, extracurriculars, and caregiving.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to care for an elderly loved one. Involve your kids in visits to Grandma’s and make it family bonding time. Seek help from others such as siblings, your spouse, or hire a helper if you have the means to do so. Research home health care services near you and decide how that can fit into your caregiving routine. 

Caregiving and Self Care Balance

Much like the safety instructions on an airplane of putting your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else, it’s important to take care of yourself first. Caregivers often have many priorities: parenthood, work, caregiving, but we need to remember to make ourselves a priority as well. Remember, taking time for self care will make you a better employee, parent, and caregiver.

Planning is also extremely important when it comes to self care. So many people put others in their life first, so you have to intentionally carve out time for YOU. Schedule something a few times a week or every day if you’re able to that makes you feel good. This could include

  • Going for a short walk
  • Reading before you to go to bed
  • Working out
  • Scheduling a massage
  • Going to your favorite coffee shop
  • Meeting up with a friend
  • Putting on a face mask

Prioritizing your mental health is also crucial when being a caregiver. I highly recommend reading the Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness. This book teaches you how to improve your life and mindset by taking just ten minutes a day. You can also check out the Headspace app or the Calm app for daily guided meditation, sleep stories, breathing exercises, and calming music. 

Seeing a counselor can also be helpful for managing mental health and caregiving. Do some research on counselors in your area and take the leap. Starting therapy can be intimidating, but it can be life changing. Here are some resources to help you find counselors in your network.

I would also recommend doing a quick google search for counselors near you that accept your insurance and going from there.

Balancing caring for an elderly loved one and everything else in life can be overwhelming. But with good communication, a lot of planning, and prioritizing yourself, it is possible to find that balance.

CarePenguin brings peace of mind to families with elderly loved ones living independently by detecting activity in a house through water use. That activity is displayed on the CarePenguin app where family members or other caregivers can see it and receive alerts if we detect a lack of activity, encouraging them to check in. No motion sensors, no cameras, or wearables needed. If you think you and your family could benefit from CarePenguin, we’d love for you to give it a try!