Caring for an elderly parent or a spouse with a chronic condition can be a giant juggling act. I try to share shortcuts and tips that have worked from me during my busy times, or that I’ve seen caregivers use that was successful.
I’ve rounded up my favorites in this post, to help you streamline your routine so that you can have more time for yourself – or just manage to get through your to do list.
Meal Planning and Food Prep
I have several tips on meal planning and food prep since for my household, getting food on the table quickly is critical. We get home around 5:45 p.m. and my family is hungry by 6 p.m., so there isn’t time to make a fresh meal at the end of my workday. Here are some of my favorite shortcuts:
- Eat as well as you can (from Balancing Caregiving and Work). Sometimes, you can’t squeeze three healthy meals a day, so you just have to do the best you can. I love packable healthy snacks like granola bars, string cheese and almonds.
- Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. I have whittled my breakfast prep down to three minutes. Healthy food, done fast.
- Shortcuts for healthy eating (from Health Boosting Food). I provide a list of shortcuts to make healthy eating more attainable. From pre-prepping vegetables to making single serving trail mix baggies to your car, you can eat healthy with a little advance work.
- Time-saving grocery shopping (from Grocery Shopping Money and Time Savers). This is a rundown of how I either save time, money or both on my groceries and toiletries. Did you know if you get a Target Red Card (either tied to your debit card or as a credit card), you save 5% on everything you buy? Target carries groceries – including organic dairy and produce – so you will save 5% without clipping a coupon. Pair that with their Cartwheel app and you can save big on things you already buy.
These are just great tips for your sanity. Enjoy!
- Let go of the small things (from Balancing Caregiving Tasks with your Family Needs). This can be so hard for a Type A person like me to do, so it bears reminding. The dishes don’t always need to be done and put away and the clean laundry can sit in the basket. You can’t do it all, so accept that and give yourself some breathing room
- Reduce mail pile up (from Caregiving Tips to Lighten the Load). I provide links to help you get off some junk mail lists, reducing the mail clutter that comes into your house. This post also has other great time savers like grocery delivery and meal planning.
- Underutilized Resources (from Top Underutilized Resources). The library and senior center are still, by far, my favorite resources for caregivers. Don’t skip reaching out to your senior center!
- Create a Medical Binder (from Keeping Up with Medical Files). Having all of your caree and family medical information in one place will simplify your life. No more hunting for prescription numbers when you’re calling in a refill or forgetting when the last appointment was. Keep track now to save time later.
I have so many more shortcuts and tips, but these are a few of my favorites.