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5 Secrets that Make Family Caregiving Easier

October 16, 2023

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Many people who are caring for aging parents or other loved ones didn’t necessarily intend to assume the role of caregiver. They gradually gained more responsibilities over time or had to step in after an injury or diagnosis. Perhaps they may have been the only one available to do it. With this in mind, many people who become caregivers are not trained to do so, nor were they planning on having this additional “part-time job” on top of their other responsibilities. 
As a result, many caregivers feel overwhelmed – especially those who find themselves in the “sandwich generation.” Pew Research reports that 47% of adults fall into a demographic who are raising children younger than 18 but also have parents aged 65 or older. For those in this “sandwich” generation who have become caregivers, it’s no surprise they’re looking for ways to make the role more manageable. While there are no quick fixes, there are a few crucial things you can do to lighten the load of being a family caregiver.

  • Admit it’s not easy.
    This may sound counterintuitive at first, but it can be transformative. Dr. Natali Edmonds, a psychologist specializing in helping older people maintain well-being, says that one of the most important things you can do to make caregiving easier is actually admitting to yourself it’s not easy, and it may never be. She explains that acknowledging the difficulty of caregiving, especially in the earliest phases of your new role, will actually open you up to be more successful long term. Thoughts like “this is too hard” or “I can’t do this” actually end up hindering progress and adding to your stress. By admitting to yourself this is not easy, you learn to anticipate challenges and learn from them rather than think it “should” be easier. You also learn to have compassion for yourself in the process. Remembering that caregiving is a difficult job, but that you are capable of getting stronger and learning how to do it well, is much more empowering. 
  • Don’t try to do it all yourself.
    When you become a caregiver for a loved one, it might feel like everything is on your shoulders. Remember that it doesn’t have to be, and most people are not expecting you to handle it alone. Even if you cannot hire a full-time professional caregiver, you can bring in others to help with smaller individual tasks. Not only can you enlist other family members or close friends to contribute, but where possible, you can outsource some tasks like meal prep and delivery, cleaning or transportation. By recruiting or hiring others for these smaller tasks you can focus on what matters most – being there for your loved one.

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The Connected Caregiver App includes Care Essentials for an all-in-one family caregiving app — giving you the tools you need to care for loved ones. Communicate and coordinate with everyone involved, keep the details organized in a centralized app, and even manage medication details.

  • Join a support group or class.
    Taking care of yourself will be crucial to sustaining such an emotionally and physically taxing role. In addition to getting enough rest and eating a balanced diet, support from others will greatly improve your day-to-day experience. This will be even more impactful if you are a part of a group of people who are serving in the same role. Your experience as a caregiver is uniquely challenging, and it can make a huge difference to simply have others you can rely on who understand what you’re going through. You can also pursue group classes or seminars about caregiving to connect with others and get some helpful ideas.

  • Utilize technology.
    Today, there are many available tools you can use to assist you in caregiving, particularly as technology continues to advance. There are apps specifically designed for organizing caregiving tasks and communicating with other members of the care team. Some alert systems and monitoring products are equipped with smart technology to coordinate and track care more efficiently. Consider the areas you spend the most time on and whether they could be automated or systemized to free up time and energy. Technology can alleviate much stress simply by taking things off your plate. It may be worth investing in services like Instacart for grocery delivery or utilizing Amazon Prime for essentials you shop for often. There may even be a solution available you don’t know about.
  • Be aware of your mindset.
    Half of the battle of caregiving is maintaining a positive and empathetic mindset. This certainly takes effort, as it can grow tiresome and even frustrating to care for someone who needs so much support. Your mindset going into an interaction with the person you’re caring for will affect your experience. If your loved one has changed due to their illness or condition, try to remember the person they were before and remember they are still the same person on the inside. Consider keeping a journal or even seeing a therapist to process the feelings you’re having as you navigate this journey. Allow yourself time to do so and recognize when you’re experiencing signs of burnout. Maintaining empathy can be difficult in a caregiving position, but with support from others and a commitment to your own wellbeing, you can maintain a positive mindset most of the time.

Even if you put all these practices in place, remember to take a deep breath each day and know that you can’t control everything that happens. Find support wherever you can and take it one step at a time.

Connected Caregiver was designed specifically to help lighten the mental load of family caregiving with medical alert systems, a powerful app and other easy-to-use solutions. Learn more about how Connected Caregiver can make your caregiving job more manageable at myconnectedcaregiver.com.

Get The Connected Caregiver App FREE!

The Connected Caregiver App includes Care Essentials for an all-in-one family caregiving app — giving you the tools you need to care for loved ones. Communicate and coordinate with everyone involved, keep the details organized in a centralized app, and even manage medication details.