Caregivers spend the majority of their time ensuring that someone else’s needs are taken care of on a 24/7 basis. This includes things like researching disease prevention and treatments, learning to identify the signs of depression in seniors or how to prepare meals that are both tasty and nutritious. Caregivers schedule and observe their loved one’s medical, dental and vision appointments and make sure prescriptions are filled on time.
The question quickly becomes, “Who is taking care of the caregiver?”
Respite Care Ensures the Caregivers Needs Are Taken Care of Too
Here at HomeAide Home Care, we specialize in home healthcare services for the senior population. While our team of licensed caregivers work both full- or part-time, we’re often hired to provide respite care services for spouses or family members who do the lion’s share of caregiving for senior loved one.
The irony is that many of the same symptoms full-time caregivers work to alleviate in their “patients,” wind up becoming their own symptoms if they aren’t careful. According to the Office of Women’s Health, the stress associated with caregiving can compromise a caregiver’s health.
Caregiver stress and/or burnout contribute to:
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings and irritability
- A weakened immune system
- Difficulty sleeping
- Higher risk of chronic diseases
- Short-term memory loss and difficulty paying attention
If you are a caregiver and any of these symptoms resonate with you, it’s a sign you need a break.
Ideas For Getting a Break From Family Caregiving
The first step is to be willing to admit you need help. Another irony about caregiving is that full-time caregivers unknowingly become micro-managers (also known as “control freaks). They start to think that their way is the best way, and that nobody else can take care of their loved one as well as they do.
While the latter may be true, it’s equally true that plenty of people are willing, able and more than qualified to take very good care of your loved one. It’s also a fact that your continued stress and burnout diminishes your caregiving ability, and then where will your loved one be? Therefore, take a deep breath and accept the fact that you could use a little help.
Contact a local senior or adult day care. Most communities have some type of adult and/or senior day care communities designed to help people just like you. In addition to providing safe, knowledgeable care for seniors and those with memory disorders, adult day care services also include things like healthy meals, fun and varied activities, exercise programs, games and so on. They can allow you to take a day off, take care of your own medical and self-care appointments or even get a part-time job so your life can achieve a sense of balance again. Visit Bay Area Community Services to learn more about adult day care programs here in the Bay Area.
Send out an email. So often, friends and loved ones say, “If there is anything I can do, just call…,” but nobody ever calls, and the well-meaning individual goes on with their life. Now’s the time to send out a mass email, or pick up the phone yourself, and get the word out that you would like a few hours off here and there. You may be surprised who responds, eager to spend some time with their loved one too, or to express their thanks to you by relieving you of your duties. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Take advantage of respite care services. Almost any home health service offers respite care as a part of their services menu. These licensed caregivers can be hired for a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks at a time. Ideally, caregivers should take advantage of respite care services on a weekly basis. If that isn’t possible, use them for weekends here and there so you don’t miss out on important family events, or hire them for a couple weeks so you can still take a restful summer vacation.
One of the benefits of hiring respite care services is that most in-home care providers offer a free consultation and in-home assessment, which can be a valuable resource for you and your family.
Are you feeling the pressure of the caregiver’s daily grind? Contact HomeAide Home Care so we can help you strike a healthier balance.