Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways to be Productive when Responsible for a Parent’s Care

5 Ways to be Productive when Responsible for a Parent’s Care

No one wants to think about growing old, especially people between the ages of 20 and 30. But if you’re helping a parent or grandparent, it’s in your face every day. And the National Alliance of Caregiving and AARP study found that 25 percent of the 40 million caregivers in the United States are Millennials. Recently, family caregivers were predominately female over the age of 49, but it extends to men and the younger generations.

The problem with care-giving at a younger age is that you’re forced to compromise employment and deal with heavier stress than expected, and it puts a strain on your financial wherewithal. And the more hours you put in, the more complicated the role becomes. You begin to execute nursing or other complex care tasks, such as administering oral medicines or injections, wound care, or operating medical equipment.

It’s unfortunate, but care-giving forces you to postpone activities, rearrange work schedules, put off school, break appointments, and basically, hampers living a life at all. Taking care of someone you love is not clean or uncomplicated; it’s demanding, role changing, and chaotic. Once you’re in it, life is never the same, and it forces a person to grow in mind-boggling ways, hopefully, in behaviors that turn into lifelong attributes, if you’re lucky and wise.

Here’s how to make the care-giving role work better and not drag you down. You must set a priority to learn about long-term care support and services otherwise you’ll be a dreaded caregiver statistic. There’s no circumventing the emotional pressure of helping someone, but reaching out and asking for assistance is a surefire way to get your life back on track.

Advertising

1. Find Affordable Services

Meal delivery

    One in four family caregivers reports difficulty in finding affordable support and services like meals, transportation, or in-home care services in the community for a loved one. Here’s where to find solutions:

    • Meals on Wheels – There are more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. They receive funds from the Older Americans Act and contributions from local businesses, donors, and sponsors. Volunteers help make the program a national safety net for older adults living at home. Costs vary on the location branch.
    • Local senior centers – Many communities have a center for seniors. Meals are offered to go or in person and prices differ in cities.
    • Salvation Army – Some locations provide on-site and meal delivery for the elderly.
    • Visiting Nurses Associations – Local associations deliver fresh and frozen meals to residents for a low cost.
    • Area Agency on Aging – is a federally funded program that operates in local areas to maximize independence and health of older adults and people living with disabilities. They assist with locating low-cost personal care services and transportation.
    • Non-profits and local agencies make it possible for seniors to live at home by offering budget wise services like meal delivery. Do a local search online for family service agency. Most agencies can direct you to low-cost care and transportation services.
    • Paratransit Services – Provides cars, vans, or buses to collect and drop off individuals at their homes.
    • Veteran Transit Services
    • Senior transport and rideshare services like Uber delivers low-cost transportation services to senior riders.

    2. Get Senior Care Expert Help

    caregiving help

      There are professionals and programs that assist caregivers find information and help on topics like keeping loved ones at home and dealing with challenging behaviors.

      Advertising

      3. Things Employed Caregivers SHOULD NOT DO

      caregiving should not do 1

        Balancing employment with giving care requires ingenious strategies. No employer wants to hire a person who jumps from job to job or who looks for an easy way out. Don’t take the easy road and make painful mistakes that will hurt a career down the road.

        Decisions that hurt your career:

        • Quit the job.
        • Take a leave of absence.
        • Change employment.
        • Whine and throw pity parties at work.

        4. Things Employed Caregivers SHOULD DO

        Advertising

        caregiving should do

          Instead of making hasty and senseless decisions that batter your career later on, take time out and gather your wits. First, think about the options; the things that need your undivided attention on the job and at home (Tip: look at the suggestions below.) After that, talk to a supervisor or manager and share your ideas on how to remain productive at work. Emphasize the importance of being at the top of your game at work and at home helping a family member.

          • Work remotely from home.
          • Create a flex-schedule, one that works around a loved one’s schedule.
          • Use Skype or FaceTime to connect with your boss or a project team.
          • Learn about the Family and Medical Leave Act.
          • Check into part-time work or job sharing with the current employer.

          5. Stay on Top of the Caregiving Duties

          stay on top of caregiving

            It’s easy to monitor a loved one’s well-being and safety from a distance. There are several online tools to share (privately) health records and coordinate responsibilities with family members. The following tools helps track appointments and updates the family network.

            CaringBridge.org 

            Advertising

            Lots of Helping Hands

            WebMD Health Manager

            HealthVault 

            Strength for Caring

            Electronic Scheduling

            More by this author

            5 Ways to be Productive when Responsible for a Parent’s Care 25 Best Websites That Save Time and Stress When Giving Care 4 Brilliant (and Slightly Badass) Ways to Get More Jobs

            Trending in Communication

            1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

            Posture

            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

            Facial Expressions

            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

            Advertising

            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

            2. Relax Your Face

            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

            Advertising

            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

            3. Smile More

            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

            4. Hand Gestures

            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

            Advertising

            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

            5. Enhance Your Handshake

            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

            Advertising

            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

            Final Takeaways

            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next