Whether you chose to be a caregiver or caregiving chose you, you’re now responsible for the well-being of another individual. Physical, mental, medical, and financial responsibilities are included in daily caregiving. One must assess both physical and mental states and address their effect on the patient’s health. Medications must be altered and administered per the request of the attending physician. Monthly bills and long-term finances must be managed in order to compile sufficient funds for care. These are just SOME of the daily responsibilities encountered by caregivers. The unpredictability of caring for an ailing loved-one causes a stress-filled environment. Combining ongoing responsibilities with unpredictable daily outcomes leads to caregiver stress and eventual burnout. How can you avoid this stress? Two words….RESPITE CARE.
Respite care is a short-term break for caregivers. It allows time to de-stress and recharge. You’re able to go shopping, take a nap, grab lunch, go on a mini vacation, or catch a movie at the local theatre. It’s easy to forget yourself when caring for a loved-one. Caregivers can’t become overwhelmed by their full-time duties. Respite care helps release any physical or mental tension that has accumulated while caregiving. These small breaks enable you to return refreshed and more focused.
It’s important to have a stable support system while caregiving. Ideally, respite care would be provided daily. However, finding willing relatives with similar schedules can be difficult. Finding a trustworthy homecare agency is equally difficult. Trying to coordinate family schedules and locating GOOD care is stressful. Caregivers become deterred and opt for no support system. I was this caregiver. Taking full responsibility for an ailing loved-one and refusing breaks is a recipe for disaster. You’ll become overwhelmed and eventually suffer from burnout. Learn from my mistakes.
Choosing to become a caregiver is a noble decision. But sometimes we don’t have a choice and caregiving chooses us. Whatever the circumstances, try to instate a reliable support system. Voice your opinions to your family and describe the importance of respite care. If you don’t mention it, who will? As a caregiver, we take complete responsibility for our patient and forget OUR daily needs. If trustworthy friends and relatives offer you a break, TAKE IT! De-stress and recharge so you can successfully care for your loved-one.
Let me know how your caregiving journey is progressing by leaving a comment. As always, thank you for reading and take care!