Be honest if you’re a caregiver and you can answer YES to more than one of these questions. Sit tight if you can affirm more than one per set.
- Do you feel depressed? Sluggish? Physically Drained? Have Hopeless thoughts?
- Do you feel isolated from your own support system? How long has it been since you’ve been carefree and social?
- Do you find yourself mad about “the little things”? Perspective getting tough to keep?
- Do you find yourself either punishing yourself more or needing more compassion than usual? Do you feel guilty for being independent?
Here come the Holidays, with stress enough to bowl anyone over, but for caregivers, they can be particularly exhausting. Lots of stuff to worry about “going right” for the rest of the family while keeping an eye out for the care receiver. You may also be worried about staving off any old, unresolved family tensions. Who wouldn’t be exhausted just preparing?
First things first. You’re doing a great job, and I know you don’t want to hear this, I know you’re tired of NOT hearing it, and I know you’re not sure if it’s worth the trouble of telling someone else how to do what you already know how to do.
You deserve respite care. And you can have it. Respite care comes in a few packages:
- Geriatric Care Managers – That’s us at Creative Care Management. Among many helpful options, we coordinate services using experience and trusted relationships so that you can relax when someone else is taking the wheel. We’re happy to help, but you should know your options, and you can start by searching for GCMs in your area here.
- Adult Day Care Centers – These facilities provide a safe environment either for a few hours at a time, or for a full day while a primary caregiver is elsewhere.
- Home Care/Home Health Agencies– These non-medical service providers make home visits and give care so you can catch your breath. Home health can also manage tasks like meals or laundry, or help with smaller errands, like shopping.
Friends and community can also be great, inexpensive resources; however, as they’re on a volunteer basis, they’re not as dependable as professional resources. If your loved one is independent enough, a senior center can also provide enough respite to rebalance.
You deserve to have the best holiday available this year. Your loved one deserves you to be at your best. More than anything, if you think you need the break that respite care can provide, pick up the phone and call someone. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and if I can’t help you directly, I’ll help find someone who can.
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Professional and a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.