Each caregiving situation is different, but one thing is likely true: Caregivers are pressed for time. The average caregiver spends more than 24 hours every week providing care.1
These six time management tips can help you find shortcuts to manage your to-do list while caring for a loved one – and allow you to take back some hours for yourself.
1. Schedule breaks for yourself and take them
It’s impossible to care for someone else when you’re running on fumes. Decide when you will take breaks each day and take them no matter what, unless there’s an emergency. Use this time to refuel – whatever helps you reset and feel calm.
2. Make a list, prioritize tasks and create routines
Plan out your week and make to-do lists for each day. Doing this will also help you establish a routine so that small, recurring tasks require less forethought. Try not to take on more than you can handle, and be realistic about your time constraints.
3. Ask for help and outsource errands when possible
Your support network is there to help out, so ask them to pitch in with rides or meal prep. Relatives who live out of state may be willing to help pay bills. However, you won’t know until you ask. If you have the resources, hiring part-time care can also be a significant time saver.2
Utilize third parties to handle everyday errands:
- Ride-sharing apps allow you to schedule rides for your family members. When you know you’ll be crunched for time, book rides for doctor appointments in advance.
- Try a grocery delivery service to save you a trip to the store. Note the delivery fees can add up, but some services have flat-fee membership options that waive those charges.
- Consider hiring an affordable cleaning professional to take yet another worry off your plate.
4. Put technology to work
Part of family caregiving means organizing your loved one’s routine and daily needs. These two apps can help with that:
- CareZone logs your family member’s medications, allergies, and insurance and ID cards in one convenient place.3
- CaringBridge helps you coordinate caregiving duties with your relatives and keeps track of appointments and more.4
Instead of writing checks, buying stamps and running to the post office, pay bills online. When feasible, enroll for automatic bill payment – it will be one less thing for you to worry about.
5. Meal plan and stick to it
Planning out meals and prepping them in advance is a big time-saver during the week. If you have the resources, meal kit delivery services are convenient, delicious and easy. If not, plan to make a few slow-cooker meals during the week that don’t require a lot of cleanup or energy.
6. Keep your space tidy
While your apps can help you organize your day and your loved one’s medical care, it’s important to keep physical clutter at bay, too. Keep files and documents you need where you can easily find them.
When you get off track or bogged down, take a few moments to breathe and focus on the big picture. There is no one right way to care for another person. Find a routine that works for both you and your family member.
1 Caregiver Statistics: Demographics, Family Caregiver Alliance, 2016.
2 5 Powerful Time-Management Tools and Techniques to Help You Excel as a Caregiver, Institute on Aging, 2016.
3 About Us, CareZone, 2018.
4 How CareingBridge Works, CaringBridge, 2018.
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ALIC44519 (exp. 4/20)