An estimated 50 million Americans provide care to loved ones every year, and in most cases that care recipient is elderly. Those informal caregivers face constant challenges, and most are forced to juggle a household and job along with their caregiving duties.
And although caregiving is a labor of love, it can be very physically and emotionally demanding. If you are currently serving as a caregiver for an aging loved one, here’s how to ask for help without compromising their quality of life.
Caregiver Stress Warning Signs
As a caregiver it’s not uncommon to feel powerless and frustrated. There are days when it seems like no matter how hard you try your loved one’s condition keeps getting worse. When those inevitable moments present, the tendency is to invest more and more time into their care. If you’re not careful, at some point those emotional ups-and-downs can trigger caregiver stress.
These are some of the classic warning signs of caregiver stress:
- Feeling mentally and physically drained all the time
- Sleeping not enough or too much
- Anxiety and depression
- Constantly feeling worried or overwhelmed
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyed
- Lack of exercise
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Substance abuse including prescription meds
Once it sets in, caregiver stress can morph into full-blown caregiver burnout– a condition that will negatively affect your health and personal relationships unless you get some relief.
Where Can I Find Caregiver Relief?
Thankfully, staying refreshed and recharged and finding helpful sources of support as a caregiver is possible by taking these steps:
Recruit family members
Oftentimes when one adult child is caring for an elderly parent, the other siblings assume that everything is OK. If you’ve been taking care of dad all by yourself for months, call up your family members and ask them to fill in for a while.
Hold a family meeting and split up the caregiving responsibilities based on the talents and time of each caregiving team member- like preparing meals for dad or transporting mom to the doctor. While in the home, ask each team member to monitor progress and communicate what they’ve observed.
If you find yourself stranded on a caregiving “island”, another option is adult daycare. For a fee, these centers cater to seniors by providing light assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), along with social activities on a daily or weekly basis.
Respite care programs
Many communities offer programs and services specifically designed to give informal caregivers a break, or “respite”. Those can be found through the ARCH National Respite Network Locator. You can also locate respite care sources via the Family Care Navigator or local chapter for the Agency on Aging.
Losing their driving privileges not only deals a serious blow to your senior’s independence, it gives you one more thing to worry about. Many large communities offer public transportation and paratransit services for elderly riders at discounted rates. Setting up your senior with a ride-sharing service is also a good way to give yourself a well-deserved break.
Meal delivery services
Providing nutritious meals for a senior takes a lot of time and effort. Hiring a meal delivery service that offers special dietary selections for seniors is another effective way for you to stay refreshed. Most provide to-the-door deliveries anywhere in the country so that you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Your Trusted Source for Caregiver Relief in Southern California
As a family caregiver, when it’s time to take a well-deserved break finding someone reliable to fill your shoes can be challenging. Restore your peace of mind by contacting New Wave Home Care. As a fully licensed home care provider, one of our reliable respite caregivers can step in and provide your loved one with the nurturing they deserve. Our agency’s mission is making a difference in the lives of clients and families we serve by supporting them with highly personalized home care solutions.
In fact, our compassionate professionals take great pride in going above and beyond in their dedication to providing care to others. In addition to respite care, our family trusted in-home services include personal care, transitional care, transportation, medication reminders, specialized care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To set up a FREE initial assessment for a senior in the greater Los Angeles area, please visit us now at: www.newwavehomecare.com.