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 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 2 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 3 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 4 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 5 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on January 15, 2019

            How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

            How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

            Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

            In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Step right up, don’t be shy!

            Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

            The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

            Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

            Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
            So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

            A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

            Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

            Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

            When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

            Culturally Conditioned

            We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

            I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

            The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

            Advertising

            Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

            Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

            Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

            1. Broadens Your Network

            After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

            2. Improves Your Communication Skills

            I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

            Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

            3. Continually Learning

            So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

            Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

            4. Increases Self Confidence

            Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

            Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

            So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

            How to Talk to Strangers

            Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Advertising

            1. Say Hello

            Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

            Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

            Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

            2. Ask About Them

            Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

            You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

            As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

            3. Just Do It

            One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

            When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

            Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

            4. Don’t Take It Personal

            One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

            When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

            Advertising

            5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

            I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

            One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

            6. Detach

            A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

            Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

            7. Share Your Stories

            Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

            To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

            So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

            8. Give a Compliment

            Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

            When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

            9. Relax Your Body Language

            If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

            When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

            Advertising

            If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

            10. Practice, Practice, Practice

            Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

            Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

            After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

            The Bottom Line

            As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

            There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

            Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

            More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next