Inspiring Words for the New Year from Carewell's Caregiver Community

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Tue Jan 02 2024.

New year's sparklers

New Year’s Day presents an excellent opportunity to reflect on the past year and look toward the future. It’s a good time to consider your strengths and weaknesses and set goals or New Year’s resolutions for the weeks and months ahead. 

Though a fresh start is exciting, a New Year can also stir up difficult emotions, such as sadness and longing. After all, being a family caregiver is a big responsibility and it's often lonely. We recently asked our caregiving community to share some encouraging words for 2024. Here, we highlight some of our favorite messages and explain how they apply to the caregiving journey.

1) Remember: “You are not alone.” - Steph Stanley

Caring for a loved one with special needs can feel isolating, but it’s important to remember you aren’t alone. From 2015-2020, the number of U.S.-based family caregivers increased by nearly 10 million people and that number will continue growing, next year and beyond! In fact, about one in five Americans currently act as family caregivers for loved ones. 

Don’t be afraid to network with others. There’s strength in numbers and dozens of caregiving communities out there, including:

Consider joining a church or visiting another faith-based community if you’d rather connect with caregivers in person. Likewise, Mental Health America (MHA) has an online search tool that connects family caregivers with resources in their local community. 

2) Have “lots of patience.” - Mercy Helen

Caregiving presents daily challenges. These obstacles vary in size and difficulty, but they exist nonetheless. Instead of throwing in the towel and feeling defeated, remember to have patience. Take each day one second at a time. Eventually, those seconds add up to minutes, then hours, then days. Sometimes, you’ll feel overwhelmed and discouraged; other times, you’ll feel on top of the world. These are the ups and downs of caregiving. Keep on keeping on.

3) “[Take it] ‘day by day.’” - The Connected Parent Site

Family caregiving is a journey, not a specific destination. No two caregiver experiences are exactly alike. Some days are difficult, others are relaxing and stress-free. Remember that you’re running a marathon. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re being spread too thin. 

4) “There are gifts in the lessons given to us. It’s what we do with the gifts that matters.” - Our Generation of Care

Caring for a parent, spouse, child, or other loved one often goes unnoticed. The activities you assist with, such as bathing, feeding, health management, and transportation are often taken for granted and misunderstood by the outside world. These responsibilities can make you feel like there’s no way out, but what if you viewed them through a different lens? Instead of seeing daily tasks as burdens, why not frame them as lessons? Use each day as an opportunity to grow. Keep an eye out for daily lessons and let them fuel your growth and progress.

5) “Keep Dreaming.” - Face_Au_Soin

When providing round-the-clock care for a loved one, it’s easy to throw your dreams to the wayside. But dreams are powerful motivators! Yes, you have lots to do and there’s only so much time in the day, but dreams are essential. Write your dreams down. Whether you hope to travel one day or want to complete another degree, let those dreams bolster you. Hope is a powerful incentive. Especially during trying times. 

6) “[Remember], you’re their child and they love you dearly. I know this journey is hard, but keep going, friend.” - Steph Stanley

When caring for a parent, your original roles are reversed. Seeing your Mom or Dad become weak and frail changes your perspective on life, love, and family relationships. These changes are even more noticeable if your parent has a neurocognitive condition, like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. When things get hard, take a moment to reflect on the past. Your relationship with your loved one might be different now, but they still love and respect you dearly. Bring this knowledge with you in the new year and let it fuel you during dark times.

7) “[Caregiving isn’t always] going to be pretty, but hold onto the rewarding moments. You’re doing great!” - OT_Mariah

Similar to #6, this quote encourages caregivers to hold onto the rewarding moments. For example, the smile on your loved one’s face when you help them eat breakfast or the way they squeeze your hand when you help them out of the car and into their wheelchair. It's little things like these that provide warmth and hope. With so much going on each day, it can be easy to focus only on the negative. Try and reframe your thinking. Every day, keep an eye out for small but rewarding moments with your loved one.

8) “No matter what this year brings, you’re doing an amazing job. You are the best advocate for your loved one and they’re better off because of you.” - Steph Stanley

Society often asks us to compare our lives with others. It’s human nature to make these comparisons, but they can be a trap. For instance, if you think everyone else is a better, more compassionate caregiver than you, then what’s the point of trying? 

Keep these discouraging thoughts at bay. The fact that you’re a family caregiver is AMAZING. Your blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice don’t go unnoticed. And most importantly, your loved one is better off because of you. 

Have Caregiving Questions? Need Professional Guidance? Get In Touch!

We founded Carewell with one goal in mind: making family caregiving easier for the millions of people who do it day in and day out. Our friendly Care Team is here for you 24/7, whether you have questions about specific products or need guidance on activities of daily living, like feeding, mobility, and incontinence care.

No matter what 2024 brings, our supportive and caring community is here to help. You’ve got this. And we’ve got you, every step of the way! Get in touch; call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to Happy New Year!

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.