Family caregivers often have to wear many different hats when they support their aging loved ones. From day to day, you may be a driver, a chef, a confidant, a personal assistant, and, of course, a loving son or daughter.
One thing you don’t have to be as a family caregiver? Alone.
Family caregivers take on a lot every single day. Providing care and support to an aging loved one is an incredible act of love and devotion. It’s also hard to deny that from time to time, it can be challenging to handle the ups and downs of caregiving all by yourself.
As an informal caregiver, there are a lot of plates to keep spinning, at all times, from helping your loved one remember their medication, to keeping up with the household shopping list, to offering rides all over town.
Meanwhile, millions of family caregivers are also preoccupied with other things, at the same time that they’re tending to their senior loved ones – incredibly important and worthwhile things, like focusing on their careers, spending time with their kids, and trying to take care of their own health and well-being.
For family caregivers, it’s easy to put all of the focus on others, and forget to take care of yourself. As a result, stress and burnout are common for family members tasked with providing daily care. Numerous studies have shown that family caregivers are prone to feeling more stress, irritability, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Many caregivers report that they have less time than they’d like to take care of themselves, and many admit to missing key medical appointments and opportunities for exercise.
In many cases, caregivers take on responsibility upon responsibility, job upon job, burden upon burden, because they assume that this is the way things have to be. There is another way.
Remember, when it comes to caregiving, you don’t have to go it alone.
No matter what your circumstances may be, there are resources out there that can help you create the caregiving network you truly need to support your aging loved one and allow them to thrive – while also giving you the opportunity to relax, recharge, and regain your own peace of mind.
These opportunities can be large and small. A few common resources that family caregivers can use may include:
- Local Service Providers
From food delivery, to laundry and dry cleaning pick-up, to in-home dentistry and medical care, there are all sorts of local vendors who can help make the day-to-day easier for you and your aging loved one, by bringing important services straight to your loved one’s doorstep. Look into the businesses available in your area; you may be surprised just how much a local or national organization might be able to help streamline one or more aspects of your caregiving routine.
- Support Groups
Research has indicated that one out of every eight adults in their 40s-60s is responsible for acting as a family caregiver. Whatever challenges or struggles you may be facing, you’re not the only one dealing with them. Do some research and see if there is a caregiver support group or network in your area. Many may be provided through a local community center, or a religious organization. In other cases, you may be able to find an outlet online. These support groups, whether in-person or on the internet, can be a great resource to share your frustrations, find community, and look for advice and recommendations from others who have been there.
- Friends and Family
Many caregivers tend to hold things close to the chest, to avoid feeling like they’re “unloading” on friends or family. Really, though, you might be surprised by how much your nearby friends and relatives actively want to step in and help. Even if you can’t get friends or neighbors directly involved in caregiving, your informal support network may be able to step in and help in other major ways, like picking up your kids from school, or helping mow your lawn when you’ve got other things to do. In other cases, local relatives or friends might be happy to pay your senior loved one a social call every now and then. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Reaching Out to a Professional In-Home Companion or Caregiver
One of the most important ways that family caregivers can get help may be to reach out to a local home care provider, like Companions for Seniors. With home care, your aging parent can get the support they need to independently age in place in the comfort and security of their own home – while you get back time for yourself.
A professional companion or caregiver can help out your aging loved one in many different ways, both large and small. It all depends on your loved one’s wants and needs, and your own wishes as a family caregiver. From lending a helping hand around the house with cleaning, meal prep, laundry services, or transportation, to simply providing a friendly face and some social support, a companion can provide the services your loved one needs, on a flexible schedule that works for you.
This arrangement is much easier and more cost-effective than expensive institutionalized care options. It’s all about giving you and your loved ones exactly what you need, when you need it – so that you can breathe easier, get rid of some stress, and finally enjoy the respite you truly deserve.
Preparing to Reach Out
Now, we know that it can be tough and intimidating to reach out for help. It’s easy to feel like contacting an in-home companion service should remain a last resort. Meanwhile, we know that finding the right caregiver can feel like a daunting process.
To that first point? Remember that reaching out for help isn’t selfish, but profoundly giving. It takes real strength to know when you’re reaching your limits, and it can be incredibly empowering and productive to get assistance – both for you, and for your aging loved one. There should never be any stigma or shame involved in asking for help and exploring all of the options available to you. You deserve it, and you are making a wise choice, for yourself and for your family member in need of care.
Now, with that said, it can still feel like there are several enormous hurdles in your way, even once you’ve decided to seek help. At Companions for Seniors, we’ve prepared several guides and FAQ sheets, to help make these early stages as easy as possible. Here are a few resources that might be useful. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Get in touch today, and we’ll help you find the answers you need!
- “When Should You Talk About Long-Term Care With Your Senior Family?”
- “Is Home Care Going to Be the Right Fit for My Aging Parents?”
- “What Questions Should I Ask a Potential Caregiver?”
- “What to Look For In an In-Home Caregiver for the Elderly”
- “Transitioning from Family Caregiving to Professional Home Care”
Companions for Seniors Is Here to Help
At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.
Our companions are trained and bonded, and can help provide a variety of services designed to help your loved one remain in the comfort of their own home. We’re locally owned in the Chicago area, with clients throughout the city and suburbs.
Are you ready to start seeking the help that you and your loved one truly need? Have any more questions about getting started with in-home care? Do you have an aging family member who might benefit from the support of a professional in-home companion or caregiver? Companions for Seniors can help! This is what we love to do. Give us a call or get in touch online to keep the conversation going!