As a family caregiver, you know there’s no such thing as a typical day. For the millions of adults who dedicate time to caring for their elderly loved ones, every day is a rush. From morning to night, you may be responsible for helping your senior loved one make it to a doctor’s appointment and a meeting of their religious group, cooking dinner, helping them go for a walk around the block, and then rushing home to help your own kids do their schoolwork, before spending the night doing work around your house and paying off bills.
Notice something missing in that itinerary? Where was the time reserved just for you?
Among family caregivers, there is a common tendency to always put the needs of others above your own. As a result, many family caregivers tend to put off taking time to relax, rest, and recharge – to the point where caring for others can take a negative toll on the caregiver’s own health, happiness, and well-being. Across the country, many family caregivers report feeling “burnout,” characterized by stress, exhaustion, anger, and frustration. Many family caregivers also experience serious mental health consequences, including high rates of depression and anxiety.
It’s important to remember that caring for others does not have to mean giving up on yourself! Your own health, comfort, and peace of mind truly matter – for your own well-being, and for the sake of those in your care.
For the millions of family caregivers out there who could use some time away, respite care can help.
Sometimes called non-medical home care, in-home care, or companion care, respite care is all about having an experienced professional step in and provide support to your aging loved one, so that family caregivers can get a chance to rest and put their focus on the other important things in their life. With respite care, family caregivers can get time to use as they see fit, and rest easy along the way, knowing that their loved ones are being supported and cared for in the comfort and safety of home.
With home care from Companions for Seniors, trained and bonded senior companions are available on a flexible schedule that works for your needs as a family caregiver, and the personal needs of your aging loved one. Our companions can help provide a variety of services designed to empower seniors to live independently, without having to uproot into expensive and inconvenient institutional care. At Companions for Seniors, we see respite care as an opportunity to:
- Help seniors to lead an active and enriched lifestyle
- Connect older adults with their community
- Nurture meaningful relationships
- Offer relief to family caregivers who could use some support
A senior companion can wear many different hats as they support your loved one. Home care can be a great fit for many seniors, as a professional companion can provide driving services, meal prep, housekeeping and laundry, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
Respite care can be a powerful opportunity for family caregivers, as well, providing the invaluable opportunity to take a step back, recharge, and refocus on other things. With this opportunity to rest, you can then come back to caregiving with more focus and enthusiasm, avoiding burnout. At the same time, getting to socialize and work with a new caregiver may invigorate and inspire your senior loved one.
What will you do with these hours, thanks to reliable respite care service? Here are five ways that family caregivers can take care of themselves emotionally, physically, and spiritually:
It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep – or even a regular nap here and there. Studies have shown that getting a healthy amount of sleep (generally thought to be seven to nine hours per night) can help reduce feelings of stress, improve heart health, and increase your focus and attention. Studies have also indicated that 57% of unpaid caregivers surveyed in the US find it difficult to sleep on a regular basis, and 70% say that they feel tired most or all of the time. With respite care, you can get some shuteye, and approach the rest of your life with a healthier outlook.
Go Out Into Nature
There are countless health benefits to experiencing nature. Research has shown that people who can get out and spend time in the great outdoors experience less stress, improved cardiovascular health, fewer chronic illnesses, and less physical pain overall. From working in your garden to taking a stroll through the woods, enjoying some time outdoors is a great way for family caregivers to unwind and recharge.
Take Time for Your Own Health
Recent research has suggested that nearly half (48%) of all family caregivers “have felt they needed medical help/support for a mental health condition due to their role as an unpaid caregiver.” And yet, when it comes to getting healthcare, 45% of unpaid caregivers say that they “don’t have time to book or attend their own medical appointments.” With respite care, family caregivers can get the much-needed chance to prioritize their own health and wellness, including scheduling doctor’s appointments and focusing on meal prep and other healthy habits.
The health benefits of regular exercise can’t be overstated. Even a few minutes of physical activity can improve your overall health and well-being, and help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Use your time away to find what works for you! Yoga, running, biking, cardio, stretching – pursue whatever moves you and inspires you to get active.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Taking time to focus on and enjoy a pursuit completely separate from caregiving can you give the opportunity to relax, and gain some much-needed distance and perspective. What have you always wanted to try? There are many different activities you can pick up with significant health and lifestyle benefits. For instance? Studies have shown that painting and sculpting can help treat anxiety disorders, lower stress levels, and even help you manage pain. There is no shortage of amazing things for family caregivers to try. What’s your passion – crafting, bird watching, writing, woodworking, cooking?
Protect Your Loved One – And Your Own Peace of Mind – With Companions for Seniors
Have any more questions about the benefits of respite care? Curious about how to get started? Want to discuss your options with an experienced and trusted home care service? Companions for Seniors is here and ready to help! We can be your sounding board, your helper, and your go-to resource for all things respite care, at every step of your journey.
At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own homes. While helping seniors maintain a higher quality of life, we also hope to provide greater peace of mind for family caregivers who may need some support.
We are locally owned in Chicago, with clients in the city and suburbs. All of our companions are trained, bonded, and insured, and can assist your loved one in many different ways, including providing assistance with activities of daily living, meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation services, and more.
From one hour to 24 hours a day, we can be there for you and your loved one. We understand that every situation is unique, so we provide a personalized care plan that’s modified to meet each client’s specific needs. As a client’s situation changes, so does our plan of care.
Ready to enjoy the benefits of respite care? Reach out online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get started.