Here are more tips about how to find more time for yourself as an Alzheimer’s caregiver:
•Learn how to ask friends and family members for help on a regular basis when you need to schedule “me” time.
•Many caregivers automatically say “yes” when asked to do something because they have such a big heart for giving. Don’t hesitate to say “no” when you need more time for yourself. If it’s initially very difficult for you to say no, try getting into the habit of taking some time to get back to the person who asks for help, so you can create a strategy for how you can best handle the situation.
•In order to carve our more time for yourself, ask for help in housekeeping chores, cooking meals, yard work, shopping and more.
•Consider hiring professionals to help with respite care and/or housekeeping chores if the budget allows.
•Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to do things like surfing the internet or watching television-these are time sucking activities that may take up much of your free time that could be better spent on healthier endeavors.
•Make sure you are NOT doing things for your loved one that he/she can do for himself/herself. This is a common trap for many caregivers and not only does it undermine your efforts for self-care, it is not good for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Supporting your loved one in being as independent as possible is the best strategy.
•Look for ways to streamline your work. For example: setting up online accounts to pay bills is usually quicker than mailing out a check every month, plan meals so that you can cook once or twice every week and freeze or store leftovers in the fridge to be eaten later.
•Schedule doctor’s appointments early in the morning to avoid waiting for long periods of time.
•Use the internet whenever possible. It’s much quicker to order online than to go out shopping for items that are not perishable and some cities even offer services online to order groceries each week.
Last, but not least, be sure to spend the extra time you free up on yourself and make it a policy NOT to end up doing any more for others. Caregiving in and of itself is a full time job. Those who plan to do the job long term need to be vigilant about self-care to ensure long term health in order to be up for all of the challenges and stressors caregiving can bring on a daily basis.
Learn more about caregiving for those with AD by CLICKING HERE to join AlzU.org’s 25 lessons written specifically for you.