AARP AARP States Colorado

The Caregiver's Cairn: New Year’s Resolutions

2JaneBarton-300x2851

Blog by Jane Barton

Greetings one and all...

Welcome back to The Caregiver’s Cairn - a sustaining and empowering guide for caregivers and care receivers. I hope you and yours have enjoyed a lovely month since my last posting. I invite you to pour a cup of coffee or hot tea, curl up in a cozy chair, and take a deep breath. After the busy holiday season, a moment to relax is always welcome. Additionally, the beginning of the year is the opportune time to reflect on the past year and to anticipate the New Year. The New Year represents a fresh start, a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to do better and to be better.

I am a firm believer in New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, I invest the time and attention to identify and articulate goals for the coming year. I am empowered, motivated, and focused by naming my goals for self-improvement. But a goal is merely a pipe dream without a specific plan of action. For example, I can resolve to lose ten pounds in 2014. Great. But how? Without the specifics as to how I plan to lose the weight, I will continue the behaviors of previous years. Nothing will change. The same holds true for resolutions related to the journey of caregiving.

If you served as a caregiver in 2013, I invite you to honestly assess your experience over the past year. How did the role of caregiver impact your other roles in life? Did you feel unfairly burdened? Were you adequately prepared and willing to fulfill the role of caregiver? Were you supported by friends and family members? Did you compromise your own health and well-being in the process of caring for another? How much longer do you anticipate serving as a caregiver? These are just a few of the questions that may come to mind as you reflect on your caregiving experience. Based on your answers, you may resolve to initiate some life-giving changes in 2014. Perhaps you will allow family, friends, and professionals to assist with various aspects of care. Maybe you will recognize that self care is mandatory and thus arrange for respite care on a regular basis. Whatever you resolve to change, be bold in naming the goal and developing a plan to make it happen!

The journey of caregiving is not for the faint of heart. Caregiving is physically, emotionally, financially, psychosocially, and spiritually daunting. And yet, it is a sacred experience for many of us. Something we feel called and compelled to do, personally and professionally. Thus, it’s important to remember the journey is not predetermined. We have the ability to tweak the process when needed or wanted. What worked well in 2013 may need to be altered in 2014. Be judicious when tweaking. Retain what works well. Transform what doesn’t. Be resolute regarding needed changes. Consequently, you will do better and be better.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I invite you to share your perspective on the caregiving journey. Make suggestions. Pose questions. Provide resources. Share your story. Coming together and sharing, we will improve the process for one and all. I look forward to continuing the conversation next month. Til then, blessings to you and yours...Jane W. Barton

Do you have a question for Jane? Please email us at coaarp@aarp.org and we will be in touch soon!

 

Jane W. Barton, MTS, MASM, CSA is a passionate speaker, writer, and listener. Jane is the founder of Cardinal, LLC, a consulting firm that provides educational programs to assist people in confronting the daunting challenges posed by aging,  serious illness and disability. Jane is well-versed in the areas of grief and bereavement, caregiving, hospice and palliative care, change and transition, and spirituality and health. She presents innovative, transformational programs to community members, healthcare providers, pastoral caregivers, clergy, funeral service providers, and national audiences to improve the experience of people and families challenged by serious, advanced, or terminal illnesses. Previously, Jane served as Director of Education for a hospice and palliative care educational institution. She has also served as a hospice chaplain and bereavement facilitator in hospice and palliative care. Jane is a certified Spiritual Director as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. In a former life, she worked as a financial services representative and an exploration petroleum geologist and manager. 


 

 

About AARP Colorado
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.