Many caregivers get into the field of senior care without ever really considering what their schedule might look like. Because of this, they often end up at some point feeling overwhelmed or caught off guard. In general, a caregiver schedule does not fit into the perfect mold of hours that many workers enjoy. Instead, the senior caregiver need to remain flexible and be ready for sometimes strange hours.
Just a Few Tips to Help
- Make sure you are ready to say no. This is the first tip I’m giving because it is in many ways most important. Too many caregivers take on too many hours and then get sick or experience burnout. Sure, the allure of more work and money might be hard to resist, but you have to learn to say no early or you won’t be of much use to those for whom you are caring.
- Make sure you communicate clearly with the family upfront. If they require odd hours on a certain day of the week, then you need to make sure you remember to plan around that. Again, the key here is flexibility, but the flexibility is based on effective communication.
- Be ready for emergencies or last-minute changes. Yes, this is one of those downsides to the work, but it’s a lot easier to manage when you’re already ready for it and when you know how to say no. If you can help out, by all means go ahead. However, if you need some rest, don’t say you can do it if you’ll be falling asleep on the job. This is why connecting with a backup network of caregivers is so important.
- Make sure you get good sleep and truly rest on off days. Though caregiving is not always physically taxing, it is mentally and emotionally taxing, which in turn wears on your body.
- Diet and exercise matter. Since we’re focusing on health this month, it’s important to mention this point. The better your diet and the more consistent you are with some kind of exercise, the more energy you will have overall and the better your outlook will be on life in general.