Caregiving can be difficult and demanding, and it can lead to a number of health issues. It is normal for caregivers to need a break. Do not feel discouraged if you are feeling this, seeking help does not mean failure. Many caregivers struggle with problems related to caregiving, in fact, caregiver stress is one issue that countless family caregivers deal with.
Caregiver stress can lead to a number of issues including depression and physical symptoms. If your body is sending you these signs, it is a good idea to listen to them. If you are looking for help for your loved one, there are a few options such as respite and visiting care that can take a load off your shoulders and still give your loved one the care that they deserve.
As the population ages, the caregiver industry and family caregivers will become more and more prevalent. This will cause increases in people struggling with problems such as caregiver stress. As more people deal with these issues, they will turn to resources that can help them, such as respite care.
Respite care comes in handy for providing planned or emergency temporary care for caregivers. These types of programs can provide short-term and time-limited breaks for family members and caregivers who are dealing with stress.
Respite care can provide a valuable service not only for you but your loved one as well. It provides caregivers the time to step back and gives a chance to spend time with friends and family and relax.
Types of Respite Care
There are many types of respite care that can be provided at home, by a friend, family member, volunteer, or paid service. In-home care services offer a variety of options including
- Companion services
- Personal care and home health
- Maid services
- Skilled care such as medication or memory care
Visiting care, or home care, is defined by nurses and rehabilitation therapists coming to your home to help with caregiver and patient needs. It can be hard to judge if requesting home care is the right option, however, if you are struggling to keep up with your loved one’s needs, it is likely best to call in to get some help.
Visiting care is a great option for your loved one because most older people like remaining in their home even when they are sick or ill.
Despite how helpful home care can be, there are some limitations. For instance, home care may be a poor or risky option for older people living in unsafe neighborhoods, or someone who has trouble with alcohol or drug abuse. Similarly, if a person doesn’t have enough room for some of the equipment that will be needed, it can turn out to be problematic.
People considering enlisting the help of others may have some apprehension when it comes to hiring someone new. For instance, they may not think that they can afford to seek the help of others. However, financial assistance and government programs can help. Similarly, you may not know how reliable these types of services are. If this is the case, speak with an agency or facility before agreeing to anything. Interviewing the person thoroughly and checking references is the best way to proceed.
Why Caregivers Need Help
It is important to understand just why caregivers need help. Caregivers are put through a lot of stress, hard work, and long days. Because of how much they are needed and the psychological and emotional toll the job takes on them, caregivers can experience a number of side effects. Many caregivers will experience a health problem known as “caregiver stress”. Simply put, this issue causes caregivers to struggle with a number of physical and mental issues.
Some of the many symptoms associated with caregiver stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling alone or isolated
- Sleeping too much
- Major weight fluctuations
- Feeling tired
- No interest in activities that you enjoy
- Becoming easily irritated
- Feeling worried or sad
- Head and body aches
It should be noted that caregiver stress can lead to many unhealthy habits and behaviors such as smoking or drinking too much.
Luckily there are a few ways that you can prevent or relieve caregiver stress. One of the best ways to do this is to take the load off yourself and relax with the help of respite or visiting care. Similarly, joining a support group for caregivers can help you share your stories and pick of tips from others who are in a similar situation as you.
About the Author
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Senior Living. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for the Boston Consulting Group.