Though I had a breakdown when I was 22 years old my parents didn’t ever have to act as my caregivers.
By the time I was 25 I lived in my own studio and had a full-time job.
I’m 53 and act as my mother’s caregiver now. It’s as if I’ve become a mother to her after all the years she cared for me.
Acting as a caregiver you have to care for yourself at the same time.
Here are 8 Tips for Caregivers:
Eat healthful food.
In New York City you can order from FreshDirect to deliver food to your doorstep.
Kettlebell Kitchen offers nutritionist-created meal packages delivered to your door or to your gym in New York City.
PeaPod is available in other areas.
Have on hand in your family member’s kitchen a complement of take-out menus. Be able to order a pizza or Chinese food to be delivered in a pinch.
Have a laundry service pick up and deliver your laundry.
The items will be neatly folded yet often wrinkled. I simply live with the wrinkles because I don’t send out good shirts.
In New York City the tropical summer air itself can smooth out your clothes’ wrinkles by the time you reach your destination.
I’ve place wrinkled tee shirts in my closet in August. The shirts are wrinkle-free by the time I take them out to use courtesy of the internal humidity.
Hire a House Cleaner.
It’s worth it to free up your time and preserve your sanity.
I ordinarily dislike cleaning chores on a regular day so have a woman clean as often as possible.
Set up a home gym.
All you need is a kettlebell, a set of weights, and a foam roller.
You can type in the names of exercises on YouTube to watch videos on the kinds of moves you’ll be able to do at home.
Turn on music and pump up the volume as you break a sweat.
No need for a costly gym membership if you’d really rather not pay a monthly fee.
In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about how I use my living room as a gym.
Hire a Home Health Aide to come in once or twice a week.
For the things you can’t do or provide on your own hire trained help to come to your family member’s house or apartment.
They can cook, possibly clean, and do other things for your loved one once or twice a week or more often if needed.
Contribute money to a peace of mind or emergency fund.
This way if you have to take unpaid leave from your job you’ll have the cash to cover it.
In New York State workers are given 40 hours of paid time off each year to care for a sick family member.
Keep your cell phone powered up at all times.
For your own safety and the safety of your loved one.
Carry a spare cell phone charger with you in case the battery runs low.
Talk to a friend or a therapist for added support.
In New York City you can dial (888) NYC-WELL to talk with a peer or social worker who can give you information about mental health resources.