Having a caregiver support group is vital when caring for those we love. Let’s face it, as our parents age, our responsibilities often change until suddenly we find ourselves in the role of caregiver. No matter the level of care we provide, the shifting of roles produces stress. No longer can we avoid thinking of the inevitable, that someday not too far off our parents will no longer be around. When stress starts to build, caregiver burnout is just around the corner. You can help yourself and your loved ones by taking breaks to relax, refresh and rid yourself of stress.
Breaks can be mental, physical or both. Simply pausing a few moments to breathe deeply or perform a few stretches helps release tension. Stepping outdoors to inhale the fresh air, feel the soft breeze or enjoy other pleasantries provides quick refreshment and relaxation. A brisk walk adds to the relief such breaks provide.
Over time, caregivers may become worn down with worry and anxiety. They wonder, “Am I doing enough? Am I doing things right? How will I ever get along without my parents?” Concerns regarding responsibilities toward other family members and work also burden the caregiver. Guilt, anger and resentment follow on the heels of worry and anxiety. Grief nudges its way into the caregiver’s emotions, increasing the burden.
Breaks from all this pain are a necessity. Two types of caregiver support are crucial in order for you as the caregiver to continue to provide quality care:
- The first is support in the form of persons you can talk to openly and honestly about what you are going through. Friends, medical personnel and caregiver support groups all are good resources.
- The second type of caregiver support revolves around some method to relieve you from your duties so that you can get away from caregiving completely, whether for a few hours or several days. That’s where Providence Care can help. You just let them know exactly what you would like them to do and you can be sure that your loved one will be well cared for.
Draw up a detailed list of your parent’s needs along with a schedule of your normal caregiving routines. This helps the relief caregiver know how to carry out his or her duties while you are away. It is helpful for your substitute caregiver to visit your parent while you are there to help your parent feel comfortable about the change.
Many insurance companies now will pay for in-home caregiver support so the caregiver, can rest. Day care at Providence Care is another option to provide for your loved one while you take a much-needed break.
Take time to take care of your own health. Keep appointments with your doctor or dentist, refill prescriptions as needed, and make sure you get enough sleep. Engage in activities you enjoy, and laugh a lot.
While you are on your break, take time to just “be.” Let your senses show you the wonders of the moment – the beauty of a sunset, a work of art or puppies playing; the sound of your favorite music or your friend’s voice; the scent of roses in bloom, your favorite perfume or fresh coffee; the taste of your favorite snack or a delicious food that you try for the first time; the feel of water splashing on your face, a soft cloth touching your skin or the sun warming your back. When you enjoy the moment, troubles melt away, leaving you refreshed.
Taking breaks and having a caregiver support group will allow you to take care of yourself so you can provide quality care for others. What better way to show your love than to take breaks that enable you to be at your best when you work as your parent’s caregiver.