As a busy family caregiver, you may have made your list and checked it twice, only to find the list has grown to more to-dos than you can manage. The holiday season is a joyful one, but also a time when many family caregivers feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of the extra tasks involved.
Your days are already filled as it is with meeting the care needs of someone you love, managing your own household, taking care of children, a career, and more. How can you possibly fit in holiday decorating, planning special meals, arranging for family get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, sending, cards, etc.?
At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we suggest hitting the pause button for just a moment, taking a deep breath, and considering the following time management tips for family caregivers. They’re designed to help you alleviate stress and allow you to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season – and beyond.
What Are the Best Time Management Tips for Family Caregivers?
Here are some steps you can take today to make the best use of the precious 24 hours you have each day:
- Don’t just make a list – prioritize it. Daily. Start with a brain dump of everything you have to accomplish over the next week, both for the older adult in your care and yourself individually. It may appear overwhelming, but that’s just the first step! Once you have your full list, divide it up into seven days and note the tasks you’d like to tackle each day. Within each day, prioritize the top three tasks. You now have a much more manageable list for each day. And if something happens to make it impossible to complete the tasks on any given day, simply move them to the next day, or split up over the remaining days of the week.
- Touch each to-do once. It’s easy to become distracted, starting one task and then get pulled in another direction. For instance, you might start folding laundry, but then remember you need to start making dinner, but on the way to the kitchen you realize you neglected to pay the electric bill, so you stop at the computer to take care of that. At some point, though, you’ll need to circle back to finish the laundry. Unless it’s an emergency, the most efficient use of your time is to stay on task and complete what you are doing before moving onto something else.
- Set realistic expectations. If you’re the type of person who likes everything to be done perfectly, you may not like this suggestion! Scaling back on your idea of what constitutes completion of a task can help you free up time for things that are more important or that you’d rather do. For instance, maybe you can set the expectation to vacuum the floors less often, or to prepare simpler meals. Instead of purchasing holiday gifts for each person in your family, consider having everyone draw names and purchase for just one. Perhaps you can decorate just one room in the home where everyone spends the majority of time.
- Delegate whenever possible. As an older adult’s primary caregiver, the majority of daily tasks may rest on your shoulders. Hold a family meeting and brainstorm ways that others can chip in to help. If you’ve been taking Mom to a weekly hair appointment, for instance, maybe someone else can begin taking over that role. Others can commit to tending to the older adult’s lawn, or helping with housework or meals on a rotating basis. Providing care for another person is never a solo endeavor, and sharing tasks allows the older adult the additional benefit of socialization with other family members and friends.
The referred care providers at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are here to help as well! A referred care provider can prepare meals, run errands, take care of light housekeeping, provide transportation, and more. And perhaps most importantly, a referred care provider can serve as a friendly companion for conversations and fun activities, making each day the best it can be for an older loved one and allowing you the extra time you need for a healthy life balance.
To learn more about the Florida home care services available through referred care providers and how partnering with American, Advocate or Whitsyms In-Home Care can help you alleviate stress and truly enjoy the holiday season and beyond, contact the office nearest you.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661