3 Caregiver Goals for the Year (That Anyone Can Do!)

Don't make resolutions, make micro-goals instead!

Instead of resolutions, which were meant to be broken, why not set yourself a few goals for the coming year? If you are a caregiver, then you probably don't have time for extreme resolutions-but goals can come in all sizes, and they aren't as restrictive. 

What goals will benefit you the most over the next 12 months? Most likely, the ones that can be done at your own pace and will be meaningful far into the future. Lets take a look at what caregivers can plan for themselves: 

1. Create More Free Time

Impossible! Yes? 

Actually, no. It isn't impossible to create more free time. Its how you define "free time" that makes or breaks this goal. Are you shooting for time that you absolutely aren't doing anything at all? Or just some time that is not related to caregiving and general household tasks? The latter is highly possible. 

In order to create more hours in your day, you have to pull a few minutes here and there from other areas. You might not be able to kick off work a few hours early, but you can spend less time on certain tasks, (such as cleaning, or bill paying.) 

Utilize technology, delegate tasks to other family members, and cut out some necessary steps in your everyday tasks, and soon you will be able to create a block of free time to use for fun or relaxation. It is easy to do after you get used to saying no to tasks and people that hold you back. 

Caregiver stress and burnout can be avoided if you work proactively to give yourself some breathing room. 

2. Make More Memories

This one is easy! You don't have to create a Pinterest-worthy party or book a pricy vacation. 

  • Take more photos with your loved ones. 

  • Create more family videos. 

  • Create projects together that can be cherished. 

Also, do things together. Take your elderly loved one with you places. Whether you are pushing their wheelchair through the park or holding their hand through a local theater performance, its good for you to get out together and do something besides medical appointments and shopping. 

Even if they won't remember, you will. And sometimes the simple, low-stress activities will be the ones that create the most pleasant memories. 

3. Take Care of YOUR Future

You are busy caring for a person who needs you almost constantly. You have other family that needs you to do things for them. You have a home, a car, a pet, a job, a social group...all things that require you to focus on what you need to be doing now. 

But are you ready to be elderly? 

It is never too early or too late to start asking yourself what happens when it is YOU who needs care. Will it be a spouse, a child, or another relative? Will you want to stay at home or move to a facility? 

Make it your goal this year to re-evaluate your long-term plans for yourself. Go over all the paperwork, organize your documents, tidy up your finances. Keep things updated. 

It may sound grim, but many caregivers have been shocked when something happened to them while they were busy caring for others. So make sure you have a provision in place in case you suddenly can't be there to care for your elderly loved one too. (who cares for them if you had an unexpected illness or injury?) 

Only Three Goals? 

Who needs more? If you think you do, set some micro-goals. Make yourself some Post-It notes and stick them on a wall or poster board. 

Most importantly, cut yourself some slack. Slough off stress and activities that aren't crucial, spend more time focusing on yourself and your loved ones, take lots of photographs, and at least once a day...

Take a moment to breathe!