As our adult population continues to age, the more frequently adult children are finding themselves becoming caregivers for their aging parents or other loved ones. Studies show that over 34 million Americans are providing care to an adult age 50+ and 16 million are providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Taking on this responsibility to care for a loved one is a major decision and one that can drastically change your life. Caregiver Statistics revealed that a majority of caregivers on average spend 6 days a month providing assistance with the activities of daily living and 13 days each month spent on tasks like shopping, housekeeping, and giving medication.
Family caregivers take on so much – from cooking and cleaning to managing medications, looking after finances, and managing doctor appointments. Doing it all for someone you love can be beautiful and fulfilling, but it can also cause fatigue and feelings of guilt or worry. “When I can’t be there, are they safe?” “Do they have what they need?” “Are they lonely?”
Ask for and accept help.
Family caregivers can endure significant stress from all of the responsibilities and challenges that come with balancing life and caring for a loved one. According to CaregiverStress.com, “Stress can build up to actually cause caregiver distress—a situation where the caregiver may become more susceptible to other health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased risk of stroke.”
Caregivers often neglect to recognize that they may need assistance with their responsibilities. Take a break from caregiving and get help with caregiving tasks by creating a list of the things that you need help with and allow a family member to assist you while you take some time for yourself.
Take time for yourself.
Whether you go get your hair done or run errands, you should take some time for yourself once in a while. It is highly suggested to utilize aromatherapy to help both caregivers and seniors combat feelings of depression and stress. Consider spending time with family and friends or even go on a vacation. Seek respite care for your loved one or hire a home health agency to assist in your absence. Lastly if being a caregiver is taking its toll on you, consider enrolling your loved one into a senior center or adult day care to help give you time to take care of yourself. Sending your loved one to one of our adult day facilities will make them feel more fulfilled and engaged while giving you a break from being a caregiver. Take care of your health.
Stress Reducing Tips For Family Caregiver
Consider home care or a transition of care to renew yourself and your relationship. If assisted living is not what is needed yet, consider working with a home care company. The home care aide can take care of bathing of the patient and the care of the home, for example, allowing more time for a loving connecting between the caregiver and the senior. Spring Hills Home Care Services works diligently to give the best possible care to a person in need.
A transition of care is when a patient is moved from one environment to another. This can be helpful for a family caregiver who is overwhelmed with their responsibilities. By transitioning your loved one into a higher level of care as well as after they move into a community can provide you with adequate time to reduce caregiver stress. Our goal is to enhance our seniors’ lives by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit through our programs, therapies and other Signature Touch Programs.
Family members are at a very vulnerable time as they look for healthcare options for their loved one. A spokesperson for the American Health Care Association notes that, “It could take days and several conversations and several good cries to make sure that … your loved one [is] in a place where their needs will be met.” That is why we take the time to get to know everything about the situation of the family members inquiring about our care. We want to make this difficult situation as easy as possible so, by using our Signature Discovery process, we are able to provide peace of mind to the family members by letting them know that their loved ones will be in good hands.
Just because you may no longer be the caregiver for your loved one, does not mean that there is no more stress. One way that our families can get additional, ongoing support is through our Connections Support Groups as well as other local support groups. Our assisted living and memory care communities offer support groups where both prospective and existing family members can get together to share advice and stories about going through a particular topic. Connections Support Groups offer a sense of community to our family members by showing them that they are not alone in their journeys. Our buildings are proud to help facilitate these connections between various families, and we also feature a variety of guest experts in a plethora of fields when it comes to senior living to help educate them as well.
Things to Remember
Remember that no one is perfect. You are not expected to be a joy-filled multi-tasker at all times. Cut yourself some slack and focus on being the most supportive and caring person you can realistically be. Your elderly loved one undoubtedly appreciates all that you do whether you are their caregiver at home or you are supporting them in their new community. At Spring Hills Senior Communities, we are there with you every step of your journey through the healthcare space.