One of the gifts of the New Year is the gift of reflection. What about the previous year went well? Was there anything that was a particular challenge? Is there something that can be done about the challenging part?

The hardest thing for me to do as a family caregiver was to accept that I could not do everything all of the time. I’m not sure why I felt like I needed to be perfect and on my game every hour of every day, but that need was there. I suspect in large part because I loved my grandmother very much and I didn’t want to let her down. Admitting that someone else could perform a task better was saying I couldn’t do it as well.

Being a caregiver is many things, but one of the most surprising things is how much it reminds us to surrender our ego. At the end of the day it’s not about us. It’s about the safety and comfort of our loved one. Learning to ask for and accept help is a huge life lesson and I learned it daily as a caregiver.

So let’s think about your care giving journey or your journey living at home. How comfortable are you? Do you feel safe? Secure? Do you know what to do should your circumstances change?

Looking ahead and planning is a wonderful way to get a jump on the New Year, and you don’t need to do it alone. If you have been on this journey on your own until now – it will feel so nice to let someone else take a turn holding the reins.

Aging Your Way can help you coordinate and navigate support services available to you and your family. Many of these services can be had for free if you meet the state’s financial and medical guidelines.

You may be entitled to service coordinator who can help you with many needs. Those may include free home personal assistance, transportation, respite care, a personal emergency response system, a certified nursing assistant, or personal care assistant, home modifications, and durable medical equipment.

So what is a service coordinator? To put it simply a service coordinator would act as a caseworker to help you or your loved one establish an individualized care plan, service arrangement, and ongoing monitoring of services and needs. Even better is that the cost of a service coordinator is usually covered by a medicaid waiver.

Start the New Year with some peace of mind about your or your loved one’s future. Call Erin McDevitt at Aging Your Way to get assistance.

Dresden Shumaker is a writer, advocate, and former full-time and live in caregiver to her grandmother. She chronicles her adventures in single parenting on CreatingMotherhood