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Aging Right at Home: Tips and Resolutions if You’re Providing Care for a Loved One in 2021

Aging Right @ Home is a monthly blog series, answering your questions on providing care for individuals with disabilities, loved ones with dementia and older adults aging in place. If you have a question, please submit it to [email protected].

Going into 2021, a record 53 million people in the U.S. are providing care for older loved ones. That is a lot of people, all of whom are likely under a tremendous amount of stress.

And unfortunately, data shows the pandemic of 2020 will continue to increase family caregivers’ workload considerably…

  • An October 2020 poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that “family caregivers are now providing 36% more care than a year ago.”
  • A recent AARP study also shows that “more family caregivers (26%) are having difficulty coordinating care, up from 19% in 2015.”

If you will be a family caregiver in 2021, I am here for you if you have questions or need support. Throughout 2020, professional in-home care became an even more attractive solution for supporting the well-being of seniors. Professional in-home caregivers can help with and/or take over many of the typical tasks of family caregivers, such as hygiene care, managing healthcare appointments, light housekeeping and laundry, meal preparation… whatever tasks need doing.

If you do plan to remain the primary family caregiver next year, please make caring for yourself a top goal of 2021. Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be a less effective caregiver for your loved one. Here are my suggested resolutions for family health caregivers to keep you and your loved ones healthy, safe and happy

  • Build some ‘me time’ into your schedule.
  • Get enough exercise and eat a healthy diet.
  • Learn more about your loved one’s health condition and what you can expect in the future.
  • Find a support group, and connect with others who understand.
  • Set boundaries… and if needed, seek assistance.

In the event you’re thinking about seeking assistance, please do your research and ask about what precautions the agency is taking in response to COVID-19. For example, all Right at Home caregivers were trained in 2020 to reduce the risk of illness, and they follow all local and national guidelines on curtailing the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Right at Home has a task force devoted to keeping owners and caregivers up to date with the latest recommendations during this rapidly changing situation.

As families work hard to keep the most vulnerable family members safe at this time, having trained professionals on the team is a tremendous stress-buster. If you have questions about providing your own care, or if you’d like to discuss options for assistance, please feel free to reach out to me directly. I wish you a very happy new year and a healthy 2021.

Your neighbor, and Owner/President of Right at Home of Northern Virginia,
Phillip Turner, CDP, CSA

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