Caring for a loved one is an admirable, but also exhausting and challenging, role to take on. Many adult children end up as a caregiver to an elderly parent by default; some don't even realize they are taking on a caregiver role, and feel they are just doing what a son or daughter ought to for their aging mom or dad. However, full-time care for an elderly person, particularly one with health issues, can be very taxing, and giving yourself respite is essential to your own health and the success of the caregiver relationship.
Be aware of signs that may indicate that you need a break from your role as caregiver, and that it’s time for Home Care assistance. Recognizing the warning signs for caregiver burnout, and making sure you give yourself the breaks you deserve, is one way you can make sure you recharge yourself and remain able to continue in your caregiving role.
If You are Experiencing Any of These Issues, It Might Be Time for Respite Care
- General fatigue caused by the physical exertions of tending to your parent’s mobility assistance needs
- Emotional distress due to the difficulty of communicating with an elderly parent with cognitive issues, or simply having to witness their health deteriorate
- Anxiety due to an overriding concern that your mom or dad will not be safe at the times you can’t be there for them
- Withdrawal from your own previously enjoyed activities or relationships because you no longer have the time to socialize
- Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns because of the stressful nature of your caregiver role
- A tendency to rely on alcohol or medication in order to relax or get to sleep
If these symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to consider getting the respite you need to keep yourself healthy.
Of course, you want to do as much as you can for your elderly parent, which is both admirable and understandable. But expecting to provide full-time care for an older person who has cognitive issues such as dementia, including Alzheimer's, or mobility issues resulting from Parkinson's, a stroke, or any other number of health issues, is unrealistic without some level of support.
To minimize caregiver burn-out, you should try to take 2-3 breaks (of a few hours each), per week - plus, it is imperative to include some longer breaks, as you need time to rest and re-energize.
Getting The Home Care Respite You Need
Many family caregivers find it difficult to allow themselves to take a break, and finding a warm and professional Home Care aide that you can trust to take over in your absence is often cited as the main difficulty. Of course, we know that no one can provide the care that you do for your parent, but a reputable Home Care company can provide quality care in your parent's own home to give you the break you deserve - and need!
A few hours per week of respite could be the difference between your own health suffering or remaining healthy, and will also give your parent a new, valuable relationship to enjoy. When looking to hire a Home Care company, you should ask questions regarding the services they provide for different levels of care, and whether they can put in place a care plan for those living with progressive illnesses, so they can be managed into the future as Mom or Dad’s needs grow greater.
Of course, as a family caregiver, you will know your parent best, but a Home Care company should be able to work with you and your family to provide care at home that includes open communication and compassionate care.
How a Home Care Aide Can Give You a Break from Being a Caregiver
Whether it's a few hours per week, or occasional care at stressful times, a Home Care aide can relieve the pressure of being a family caregiver to an elderly parent who needs assistance with daily tasks, medication reminders, or even companionship.
They can help with meal planning and preparation, transportation, dressing and social activities – all those things you would normally provide.
Having a trusted caregiver in your life also means that you can call in support at those times when you simply can't be there for your mom or dad – if you fall ill, have other family commitments, or simply need some respite.
When you do feel ready to take some time for yourself, know that you are doing the best thing for your parent by getting the break you need; and hiring Home Care help will ensure that your parent remains safe and well cared for.
To find out how Ezra Home Care can provide the respite and assistance you and your parent need, contact our experienced team.