The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

How To Manage Your Time as a Caregiver

Caregiving can be a unique balancing act. The more responsibilities and commitments you have, the harder it can be to balance it all, so it’s critical to manage your time in such a way that allows you to care for yourself as well as your loved one.

As a caregiver, you should try to prioritize your own needs on an equal level with the needs of your loved one. Think about it: if you’re not meeting your own needs, how can you have enough resources to meet anyone else’s needs?

Here are some time management strategies for caregivers that can help prevent you from experiencing caregiver burnout.

Temper Your Expectations (For Yourself)

According to a recent study on caregiving in the U.S., caregivers provide about 24 hours of care each week to their loved ones. When you add in a full-time job, raising a family, or other time commitments, expecting yourself to do everything is simply unrealistic.

Remember, you are just one person, and one person can only do so much.

First, write down a list of tasks you feel you should commit your time to, and then estimate how much time you think it would take to meet those commitments each week.

Once you’ve added everything up, you’ll need to make a judgment call. Does this seem like something you can keep up every week for the foreseeable future? If not, some adjustments will be necessary.

Next, decide how much time you feel is reasonable for you to spend on caregiving. This will be different for everyone, depending on what your other commitments are and what your personal threshold for busyness is.

Set a Care Schedule

Now that you know approximately how much time you’re able to devote to caregiving, it will be much easier to compartmentalize that time into manageable “blocks.” You can fit these blocks into your schedule in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your loved one.

Set a regular weekly schedule that is consistent (for the most part) but still flexible enough that you can occasionally make changes if something comes up or if urgent needs arise for your loved one.
Woman planning her schedule to care for her senior parent and the rest of her weekly responsibilities and activities

For the sake of maintaining a healthy routine, you won’t want your schedule to change too much too often. Of course, there are always unexpected circumstances that will arise from time to time, but if your loved one is always asking for you to help on your day off, it could be time for a longer discussion about boundaries.

If you have trouble staying organized with your care schedule, there are several apps you can use that are tailored specifically to caregivers.

Protect Your “Me” Time

One of the most important priorities for any caregiver is self-care – taking time for yourself. This could be anything from taking a vacation to getting a checkup to enjoying a night out away from your adult responsibilities.

Woman taking a break from her caregiving responsibilities to care for her own needs

Treat this “me” time just like you do your caregiving blocks by fitting it into your regular schedule as often as possible. If you can, arrange to have a “backup” person, perhaps a friend or family member, that your loved one can call if they need something while you’re taking time for yourself.

Try not to put off taking time for yourself; it’s just as important to your well-being as your caregiving time is to your loved one’s well-being.

Related: If you’re looking to explore the outdoors during your “me” time, check out these 10 state parks on Long Island >>

Ask for Help When You Need It

Caregiving should always be a team effort, and nobody expects you to go it alone. Almost any experienced caregiver will tell you that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. Remember, the better you take care of yourself, the better care you’ll be able to provide to your loved one.

Asking for help can take many different forms, such as:

• Joining a caregiver support group
• Having a friend or family member share caregiving responsibilities
• Seeking out additional care options

Hired help caring for a senior parent while the adult child is away

There are also plenty of resources to help you in your caregiving journey, such as these five helpful podcasts designed to provide caregivers with useful advice, peer support, and self-care tips.

Considering Assisted Living?

If caregiving is becoming overwhelming, it could be the right time to consider assisted living for your loved one. So where do you start? Check out our beginner’s guide to assisted living for answers to your questions and how to choose the right assisted living community.

How to Start Your Search


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