Photo credit: Aaron Burden

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

If you are currently a caregiver of a family member, you might be feeling a little stressed, or in some cases, a lot stressed. LifeCircles PACE wants to help you and your loved ones celebrate National Family Caregivers Month. Throughout the month of November LifeCircles will be highlighting some simple tips to help caregivers find ways to care for themselves.

Often times caregivers get stuck in such an around the clock routine that it is difficult for them even imagine things that others could do to help. Caregivers often feel overwhelmed. A brain that is overwhelmed has a hard time solving problems. When a well-meaning adult child or neighbor asks “what can I do to help?”, a stressed caregiver might sigh and say “oh, that’s ok, I can’t really think of anything you could do”. Today’s tip offers a quick way to help a frazzled caregiver’s mind to find opportunities for others to help them.

If you are one of these well-meaning individuals looking to help a caregiving loved one, help them make a list of the tasks that they do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep the household running. If you are the caregiver, take 15 minutes and write down a non-emotional list of the chores or tasks you do in a day. Tomorrow, make one that lists what you have to do, or would like to do on a weekly basis, and so on. Don’t let making the list overwhelm you. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Just take 15 minutes and write the things that come to mind. When the 15 minutes are up, set it aside. Come back to it tomorrow and do the next bit of the list.

Once you have made the list go back through it and think about who you know who could handle one or two of these tasks.

Is there a neighbor who wouldn’t mind shoveling your walk way when it snows?

Do you have a grandchild who would be able to do a load or two of laundry?

Is there a church member who could do your grocery shopping for you?

Now ask these folks if they wouldn’t mind helping with something on your list.

Keep the list in a safe place, so the next time someone asks if they could help with something – you can say “let’s check the list”.

Your list doesn’t need to be fancy, just a piece of paper and your thoughts will do. However, if you’d like a template to make your lists you may enjoy these free resources (LifeCircles is not affiliated with these pages in any way):

https://scatteredsquirrel.com/2016/03/daily-task-list-planner/

https://lifeasmom.com/my-new-post-it-note-to-do-list-system/

http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com/2014/01/to-do-list-free-printables.html

LifeCircles PACE serves older adults and their caregivers in West Michigan by providing customized senior care both in home and at our centers in Muskegon and Holland. If you or a loved one would like to know more about our comprehensive health and support services that help seniors live in their own home and community please call us. Muskegon County and Northern Ottawa County residents can call 231-733-8655. Most of Ottawa County and the Western portion of Allegan County residents can call 616-582-3100 to find out more. You can also find out more by emailing us at info@lifecirlces-pace.org or by visiting our Common Questions page http://lifecircles-pace.org/common-questions/