Serving as a family caregiver can be a mixed experience. There are the positive feelings associated with helping your loved one: if you’re caring for your mother, father or spouse, there is satisfaction in knowing you are, in some way, returning the support they once provided you.
But caring for a frail relative also has its difficulties. As a family caregiver, you may sometimes feel isolated and alone with a huge responsibility. You may experience fatigue and stress when there isn’t enough time for necessary tasks. You may feel pulled between the needs of your loved one, other family members, your job…the list can be long. But it is important for you to take breaks, and to seek help from others. Have you considered a respite program?
Respite care programs provide temporary relief for caregivers. In some cases, a professional in-home caregiver comes into the home for prearranged periods of time, while the regular caregiver takes a break. Some hospitals and nursing homes have short-term, overnight on-site programs as well. Adult day centers also offer respite programs.
Remember: taking care of yourself is another way of taking care of your loved one! It’s important to learn about all the resources that can lessen the load and allow you to be a more effective—and healthier—caregiver.
Copyright © AgeWise, 2013