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Top Tips to Help Aging Family Members- August 2012
August 14, 2012

Three Ingredients to Taking a Break

Last month, the newsletter had an article about asking for help. It's a good companion piece to what I'm sharing this month. Click here to read the July article

Pampering and caregiving, I'm not completely sure that these two activities belong in the same sentence. I know it can be difficult to get the necessities addressed much less find time to pamper yourself. Few of us elevate taking care of ourselves to the same priority as the care we provide to a loved one.

If considering self care makes you feel guilty think about how investing some time in your well being will ultimately benefit the person you are caring for. In my experience, caregiver fatigue or break down are the main reasons that people end up making drastic changes in a loved one’s care. You are a critical element in your family member’s care. What will happen if you can’t continue?

It may feel overwhelming to think of adding a new activity or interest. A fruitful place to look may be to consider activities that you have let fall away as your caregiving responsibilities expanded. Whether you look at taking on a new activity or reconnecting with a past interest, here are three suggestions about how to maximize the benefit of taking care of yourself.

Three Ingredients to a Satisfying Caregiving Break

Schedule it. Give yourself something to look forward to by making your self care activity a standing appointment. Having a standing appointment whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly makes it easier for you to set expectations with your family member and any helper(s) you need to recruit to help your family member in your absence. Scheduling your self care will make it more likely to happen.

Mix it up. While it’s critical to schedule your breaks, you don’t have to do the same thing each time. From week to week, your needs change, after a particularly busy week, you want to find a relaxing activity. After a troubling week, you might want to seek the support of a friend. After a week inside, you might want to take a walk or visit a park.

Stay in the moment. While you are enjoying your break, do your best to set aside thoughts or worries about your loved one. If you notice that you are worrying, pause, take a deep breath or two and begin observing in detail your immediate environment. Even better you can turn your observations into a gratitude exercise. For example, if you are taking a walk, turn your attention toward what you are seeing, appreciate and be thankful for a pretty flower, a colorful bird or the cool breeze.

I’d love to hear some specifics from all of you about how you take care of yourself. What activities are the most refreshing for you? What is your biggest challenge when trying to take a break?

Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?

Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?

Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?

Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.

As a special offer to my newsletter members, I'm offering a no cost 30 minute consultation.

To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources tailored to your unique situation, click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation ($75 value).

We have some new programs to fit different learning styles and budgets. At the end of our free consultation, we can discuss whether live coaching, email coaching or a self study course will best meet your needs.

To learn more about these new options, check out our Programs page.

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