Free Time after Placing Your Loved One in a Skilled Nursing Center
Many family caregivers have to make the difficult decision to place their loved one in a skilled nursing center (also known as a nursing home). Not only is this decision a difficult one, but it also restructures the rhythm of your everyday life. You will find yourself having a different schedule and, perhaps, more free time. This blog will offer some suggestions to help you manage this new time you have to yourself.
1) Come up with a visitation schedule
Think about the most convenient times you want to visit your loved one. Buy a planner or a calendar and schedule in these times. Creating a plan requires you to reflect on and organize other responsibilities and personal activities you need to do. Not only are you focusing the time you want to spend with your loved one, but you are also focusing on those activities you would do when you are not making visits. This process will add structure to a typically disorienting process.
2) Prioritize your well-being
Placing your loved one in a care center is meant to help all parties involved. The transition may be stressful, and it can certainly come with its obstacles, but the time you will eventually have apart from the care center will give you the opportunity to prioritize your well-being. Use this time to think about what you would like to do–even if it is to relax!
3) Reconnect with friends
Family caregiving is time-consuming. As a result, you may realize that you spent less time with friends or other family members. Placing your loved one in a care center often opens up more time for family caregivers. Use this time to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances over coffee or a meal. A component of a healthy lifestyle is to socialize either with friends or with new people!
4) Be active
If you have more free time, then try to schedule some physical activity into your daily routine. Exercise promotes many physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Find a physical activity you would have liked to do but maybe could not do previously like walking, going to the gym, playing golf, or swimming. Remember: Before starting any exercise routine, consult your doctor about it.
5) Sleep seven to eight hours a night
Along with exercise, sleeping provides profound psychological, physical, and emotional benefits. Dividing your energy between self-care and visiting your loved one will require you to be alert, attentive, and organized. In general, to live productively and energetically in all aspects of life, getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is necessary.
Managing more free time may feel odd at first. You may also feel guilty for redirecting energy toward your well-being after having directed it toward your loved one for so long. Even if your caregiving responsibilities have been significant in the past, this is no reason not to care for yourself now. The happiness you will receive from pursuing your activities with your new schedule will also help you organize, prioritize and cherish the time you spend with your loved one.