January is a great time for caregivers to set new intentions and goals for the coming year. How can you minimize stress and find time for yourself in 2022? Reflect back on the previous year and consider where you are headed now, what is going well (congratulations!), and what is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. If you anticipate that daily living activities will require more support, identify what you can manage on your own and which tasks you’d like more help with. Widening your circle of support is a significant task in and of itself: write down a Plan A, B, and C to steer your efforts.

And what about caregiving – for yourself? Get enough rest: allow yourself to sleep in or take a delicious afternoon nap once in a while. Feeling lonely? Tap up your social network as needed with a Zoom happy hour, a book club, a game night, or a crafting group. And don’t forget that you have a body: sustain or increase your own strength and vitality (and ability to get things done!) with regular exercise. A new year is a great time to explore something new – a session with a personal trainer, a new game like pickleball (which doubles as social time), or a fun-themed obé workout.

Last but not least, know that if you feel underappreciated, you probably are. More than 48 million Americans are unpaid caregivers who are often too overwhelmed and exhausted to advocate on their own behalf. Knowing you’re not alone can be a great solace and source of hope for eventual change – share your struggles and learn from others’ by joining a caregiver support group, or gain a broad horizon for your experience by reading “Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America” by Kate Washington.

At Assured Allies, we appreciate and value everything you do as a caregiver and wish you a happy and prosperous 2022!

Alexandra Pritkin-Morin
Alexandra is an Age Assured Ally, a professional aging expert who is passionate about assisting older adults in maintaining a joyful and active lifestyle.

Brighten Winter Doldrums

If cold weather has your loved one cooped up inside, here are some ideas to keep their spirits up:

  • Let holidays linger: There is no law against playing holiday music and keeping decorations up and lights shining well into January and beyond if they inspire joy and fond memories.
  • Embrace natural light: Keep blinds open during the day to encourage everyone’s circadian rhythms and lift mood. Set up a comfy chair near a window where you or your loved one can sit and soak in the sunlight.
  • Grow indoor plants: Greenery inside contrasts nicely with winter’s spare palette outside. Plants are rewarding to care for and a wonderful focus for interaction. How about an air plant that your loved one can spritz daily with water, a potted lemon tree, or a tropical plant?