Most people don’t think there are enough hours in the day, but if you’re the caregiver for a homebound senior, you probably feel like you have fewer hours than most. The days and weeks slip by, and you don’t even know where they go. You may constantly feel frazzled, like you can barely keep up.
So what do you do if you provide informal senior home assistance and life has become a rollercoaster of stress — one you can’t seem to climb off? Here are a few time management tips that are almost as good as having a caregiving clone!
Anything you can do in a group will save you more time than doing it individually. Let me explain: if you have several errands to run in many different parts of town, plan out your route before you go. Hit stores and other places that are close together before moving on to the next cluster. If you’re squeezing things in after work and on weekends, make sure you know when stores and offices open and close so you don’t get left in the lurch.
Grouping can be beneficial for certain types of activities as well. For instance, if you feel like you’re constantly doing laundry – perhaps several loads a week — make one weekend day your “laundry day.” That way, if you need to run out during the week, you won’t have to rush back in time to do the laundry.
Power up the computer
So many activities can be done online these days — everything from bank transfers to paying taxes. See what tasks you can shift online to help you save time. Every task you complete, from printing out postage to checking on your senior’s prescription refills means less time in a line or on the phone. You can even order groceries, adult diapers, and diabetic supplies online, or set up regular deliveries of essential items. After all, the less you buy outside the home, the less you have to lug back from the store!
Cry for help
If you’re a full or part-time caregiver, there’s absolutely no shame in crying “uncle!” once in a while. You’re only one person, and can’t be expected to do the work of two or three. If you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional senior home assistance.
A trained home health aide is possibly the closest thing to having a whole other “you” to support your loved one. Not only can they provide companionship and social interaction when you’re not there, but they can make sure your senior stays safe and comfortable in their home — exactly the way you would.
This type of professional home assistance lets you off the hook when it comes to preparing meals, doing light housekeeping, and transporting your senior to and from appointments. Aides can even provide basic self-care for your loved one, including feeding, dressing, and bathing.
Spend time with the most important one of all
In all this talk about time management, it’s easy to forget why you’re trying so hard to save time. Is it so you can simply catch your breath, get caught up on your own life, and perhaps even have some time to yourself? Yes, there’s definitely that. Maybe you don’t remember the last time you managed to get to the doctor’s or dentist’s for your own appointment, or even had an afternoon to relax. But in all the hullabaloo, it’s easy to forget why you’re a caregiver at all: because you have a unique relationship with a special senior.
So after you employ these time management skills (and maybe even look into professional senior home assistance), use the time you get back to spend with your loved one. Don’t prepare meals, do chores, or run around trying to make sure their medication or paperwork is in order. Do whatever activities you are able that help you connect, recharge, and strengthen the unbreakable bond that you share.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.