It is estimated that nearly 40 million Americans care for an adult friend or relative every year, providing 37 billion hours of unpaid care. While caring for a loved one can be a meaningful and rewarding experience, it can be an emotionally and physically demanding job.
Family caregivers often feel overstretched, especially when trying to balance their caregiving duties with a career, children and their personal lives. In fact, according to AARP, nearly 9 in 10 family caregivers said caring for a loved one was harder than they anticipated and more than half felt overwhelmed by the amount of care their loved one needs. This has been linked to their declining health as well as a negative impact on their careers.
Let’s face it — everyone needs a break sometimes. That’s where respite care comes in. Respite care provides, you, the family caregiver, time away from your caregiving responsibilities to rest and recharge. It’s a way to give yourself a much-needed break while still meeting the needs of your loved one.
There are several different types of respite care available, including adult day care centers, residential facilities and in-home care. Home care agencies like ComForCare Home Care provide in-home care services. A professional caregiver comes to your loved one’s home, where they are most comfortable, and takes care of them like you would. At ComForCare Home Care, caregivers are available for a few hours a day up to 24/7, including holidays and even if you are just going on vacation for a short period of time. Home care helps with a wide variety of daily activities, including bathing and getting dressed, grocery shopping and meal preparation, transportation to doctor’s appointments and errands, light housekeeping and laundry, medication reminders, and sometimes most importantly – companionship. ComForCare Home Care works with families to develop individualized care plans, taking into account a person’s hobbies, skills and interests. The goal is to incorporate meaningful activities into daily routines.
What to Do if You Are a First-Time Family Caregiver
While some family caregivers gradually grow into their roles or are born into it, others can pinpoint the event that started their journey. If you recently became a family caregiver, you may feel challenged due to the changes in your relationship with your loved one. You may have to help your loved one bathe and dress or take medications. You may need to drive them to appointments or orchestrate their care from another state or country.
The following tips can help you oversee your loved one’s care and well-being, manage your own stress levels and better enjoy your time together.
- Organize legal, personal and financial documents. In some situations, you may need to seek legal authority like Power of Attorney to do business on their behalf.
- Research your options. For example, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
- Prepare the home in order to provide a safe living environment. Some minor household fixes might include removing trip hazards, such as rugs and snaking electrical cords, and increasing the brightness of bulbs or the amount of lighting. Pay special attention to the bathroom. According to the Centers of Disease Control and prevention, approximately 22 million Americans were injured in the bathroom, and the rate of injury increased with age. Specifically, Americans 65+ hurt themselves using the toilet and moving around the bath tub or shower. You can reduce fall risks and accidents by installing grab bars around the toilet and shower/bath tub.
- Enlist help and care for yourself. You cannot effectively take care of someone else if you do not take care of yourself first. Respite care provides family caregivers the opportunity to spend time with other friends or family members, run errands, get to the doctor or the gym, take a vacation, get a haircut or simply relax. This helps prevent what is known as “caregiver burnout”.
By Neil Anand | Owner, ComForCare Home Care
To learn more about home care, visit ComForCare.com/FairfieldCT and call (203) 612-8966 for a no obligation consultation. Portions of this article were originally featured on blog.comforcare.com. ComForCare Home Care is a premier provider of in-home care with nearly 200 independently owned and operated locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., helping older adults live independently in their own homes and continue to do all the things they love. The home care company is committed to helping people live their best life possible and also offers special programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. ComForCare Home Care, 1700 Post Road, Suite E5, Fairfield, CT.
(203) 612-8966 ComForCare.com/FairfieldCT firstname.lastname@example.org.