If you’re the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, you may be experiencing some form of stress or burnout. It’s natural for caregivers to become so involved in taking care of someone else that they tend to allow their own needs to get put aside.
This is why respite care is so important for caregivers. As the number of caregivers increases- and there are already an estimated 50 million caregivers in the country today- the number of people suffering from exhaustion, stress, isolation, depression and physical ailments is also on the rise. This is no coincidence. Caregivers need to recognize that they deserve a break from their responsibilities from time to time to take care of themselves, too. Also, taking some time away from your caregiving duties will make you a better caregiver in the long run.
Many caregivers feel guilty at the thought of seeking respite services for their loved ones. A recent survey of caregivers by the National Family Caregivers Association showed that it’s especially difficult for spouse caregivers to acknowledge that their role of caregiver is different and separate from their role as spouse. Caregivers need to accept that caregiving plays a totally separate part in their lives, and that the job of long-term caregiving can be too big for just one person to handle.
Finding Relief in Respite Care
The benefits of respite care are numerous for caregivers. Taking time away from care giving demands will leave a caregiver refreshed and renewed, allowing them the opportunity to re-energize to be a more effective caregiver. Caregivers deserve time for activities they enjoy, whether it be reading, gardening, taking a walk, and so on. It’s also important for caregivers to maintain social relationships with friends and other family members to avoid isolation and depression.
Respite care will also allow the caregiver to maintain their own lives; to run errands, see their own doctors, and possibly attend support groups with other caregivers.
Respite care services are available through community agencies and home health care companies. At American Senior Communities, many of our locations offer respite care, allowing family members the confidence that their loved ones are safe and comfortable, whether their stay is short term or slightly more extended.
Another way to find relief through respite care can be as simple as accepting offers of help from friends or family members. Or, create an area in the house that is solely for the caregiver, whether it be a reading nook, an extra bedroom, or even the bathroom where they can take the time to enjoy a relaxing bubble bath. Designate a time every day, whether it is while the care receiver is taking a nap or when they first go to bed, that is just for the caregiver.
Remember that respite care should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity for the well-being of the both the caregivers and their aging loved ones.
For more information about respite care through American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.