As a family caregiver you’ve probably had more than one day where you just didn’t get through your entire “to do” list. Being a caregiver for an older adult can be extremely time consuming. It can be hard to juggle all the tasks involved, especially if you’re also working full time and raising children. Some days, you’ll have to use your very best time management skill just to get through the things on your list that cannot wait.
If you’re looking for ways to use your time more efficiently, here are some tips to help you better manage your time as a caregiver.
Make a List
If you’re not already literally keeping a written list of what you need to get done, it can be helpful to do so. For one thing, being busy can cause you to forget things. In addition, it can be gratifying to check things off a list and motivate you to keep moving forward. Plus, a list can help you to prioritize the tasks that must be completed versus those that can wait.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Often caregivers let their responsibilities to their older family member prevent them from finding time for themselves. To prevent caregiving from taking over your life, schedule your “me time” first. Then, work in other responsibilities around it. If you find you’re having trouble getting it all done, ask family members for help or consider hiring a home care services provider to assist. Home care services providers can take over many of the tasks you may be doing for your aging relative, such as cleaning the house, cooking meals, driving them places, or helping them to pay bills.
Regularly spend some time planning your caregiving schedule ahead of time. Pay attention to when your aging relative has medical appointments that you need to attend with them. Then, if possible, adjust your work schedule to accommodate the appointments. Also, make sure that the older adult’s caregiver calendar is covered. If there are times when you can’t be there, ask family members to fill in or use home care services to fill in the gaps.
Do Small Tasks Immediately
Try taking care of the tiny caregiver tasks as soon as they come up. For example, if you’re helping your aging relative with their mail and you open an explanation of benefits form for a medical bill paid by the senior’s insurance or Medicare, file it right away instead of adding it to the “to do” list or letting paperwork stack up.