Caregiver Respite for Peace of Mind (Guest Post)

caregiving issues
Respite care for caregivers can provide peace of mind.
Photo courtesy of author

Caregiver respite is the topic of today's guest post, and its a very important subject. Not enough caregivers take time to care for themselves. The result is a struggling caregiver who is spread too thin to take care of any of his or her responsibilities safely and efficiently. 

Jacqueline Hatch of Seniorly.com shares some options for overworked caregivers below: 

Caregiver Respite is Not Selfish

Family caregivers are strong individuals. They often find themselves part of the sandwich generation, simultaneously caring for young children and aging parents, balancing the needs of others while also holding part- or full-time jobs. And with so much to juggle, it’s no surprise that self-care often gets pushed to the wayside, becoming more of an afterthought than an obligation. 

    It’s common for family caregivers to feel responsible for their aging loved ones, and as a result, feel guilty about needing some time off to focus on their own needs. But caregiver respite is not selfish; it’s necessary. Research shows that caregivers who neglect self-care often become ill, and caregivers who embrace it are stronger, healthier, and better able to care for their aging loved ones. 

Fortunately, there are several ways that family caregivers can get respite AND peace of mind: 

-Ask for help: 

A close friend or family member should be able to take over your caregiving duties for a day or two so you can take some time off. Use this time to catch up on sleep, go to a yoga class, or just catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile. Even one day of respite can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. 

-Consider adult day programs: 

There is bound to be an organization in your area offering adult day programs for your aging loved one to participate in. Simply contact your local Area Agency on Aging and inquire about programs near you. A majority of programs will have a trained nurse on staff to help with basic health care needs, so you can rest assured that your loved one is being cared for properly while you are away. 

-Find short-term senior housing: 

If you’re going on vacation or need a longer break, many senior communities offer one- to two-week respite stays in senior housing, where your loved one can have access to 24-hour supervision, assistance with daily activities such as showering and dressing, and even medication management. 

These communities generally offer dining, laundry, and care services that are included in the price of the short-term stay. Senior communities also provide tons of opportunities for socialization, including group activities such as fitness classes and movie nights, so your loved one can feel engaged in the community and maybe even make some friends while you’re away! 

Its Okay to Take a Break

If you’re at the end of your rope and just need some time to rejuvenate, it’s okay! There are several options that may work for your family. Find some peace of mind with the suggestions above or design your own kind of respite. What matters most is that you’re focused on your own health, too, and not always sacrificing it for others. Because we all need a break sometimes. 

Seniorly.com is a free resource for elders and the loved ones who care for them. Find hundreds of articles on elder care issues on our website, or connect with us on social media to engage.