Free Up Time By Delegating These Caregiving Tasks
Caregiving is challenging. Between managing your own household and helping your parents age in place, the never-ending to do list can be overwhelming. While it can be expensive to hire an in-home caregiver, there are less expensive tasks you can outsource to simplify your life.
- Errands: Running to the post office, grocery store, pharmacy, etc. etc. etc. can be time consuming. Between the driving and the waiting in line, you can lose hours a week. There are errand services such as TaskRabbit.com that allow you to outsource these tasks for a relatively low cost. You can also hire a high school or college student to run some of these simple errands. If you don’t have the money to pay someone, do you have a family member or friend who you can trade errands with? Perhaps they pick up your groceries one week and you do theirs the next week. Get creative to find ways to reduce your load.
- Meals: I have posted some tactics for eating healthy when you’re busy, but if meals are truly dragging you down, there are ways to outsource the task. Sign your parent up for Meals on Wheels to have one meal taken off their plate. You can also do meal trades with family or friends. Basically, you team up with a family and each cook one extra family meal per week (double your recipe) and share it with each other. You’ll each cook one less time per week. And finally, if you have room in your budget, you can purchase meal delivery programs or meal prep services. Some examples are Dream Dinners (you do the prep, freeze and cook later), Blue Apron, Plated or Hello Fresh (ingredients delivered for you to cook). These services can be pricey, but they’ll save you from grocery shopping and much of the time-consuming prep work is done for you.
- Grocery Shopping: Have you tried grocery delivery services? This is a great way to save at least an hour of time per week. You can shop online, set up your delivery time and have your groceries delivered to your door. I know many long-distance caregivers who do this for their elderly parents to ensure that they have food in their fridge. I personally have used Vons.com and Amazon Prime Now. They both charge a small delivery fee but in both cases, I have been extremely pleased with the quality of produce, which was always my concern about trying it out. You can even specify how you prefer your items. For example, I prefer to purchase green bananas because I get a lot of bananas and don’t want them to go bad before we can eat them. You can specify that.
If you have a larger budget, or siblings who can contribute financially, here are some other caregiving tasks that you can outsource.
- Paid Caregiver: Even if you intend to be the main source of care for your parent, you can hire someone to come in to assist with some of the more challenging caregiving tasks or to provide respite care.
- House Cleaning Service: Whether you hire a service for your home or your parent’s home, getting help with cleaning will take a huge load off your shoulders.
- Transportation Provider: Unfortunately, in some cities, there aren’t a lot of safe, reliable transportation services available for seniors, but if you happen to live in a community where there is, consider enlisting a service for some of your parent’s social outings. Social isolation can lead to depression, so while this may be low on your already packed to do list, it is important to your parent’s well-being.
- Companionship: As I stated, social isolation can lead to depression or an increase in health concerns. If your parent is alone for most of the week, consider hiring a senior companion – there are some individuals and services that specialize in being a companion to seniors – or enrolling your parent in an adult day care or activities at their local senior center.