February 7, 2019
In recent years, caregiver has become a common role for those with aging loved ones. In a study by Pew Research, 36 percent of adults said they provided unpaid care to an adult family member or friend in the past year. That’s up from 27 percent in 2010.
The type of care provided or the amount of time it takes may be different for each person. However, the need for time away from caregiving remains central to the well-being of every caregiver. Caring for someone you love is often a rewarding job. But, it’s also common to have times of stress or feelings of being overwhelmed.
When you’re feeling the stress of caregiving, you may need to refocus on your own health. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be more prepared to care for your loved one in the long run.
When you have ongoing stress related to caregiving, it affects your well-being. Not only does it impact mood, focus, and mental health but also your physical health. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress may increase the effects of any existing chronic health conditions.
In some cases, the time demands of caregiving may contribute to other well-being concerns. Caregivers are more likely to neglect their own health and preventive care because of the demands of caregiving. They might also take time away from activities they enjoy or work due to caregiving. Over time, this can negatively affect their other relationships.
Some caregivers report feeling hesitant to take time away. You know your loved one best, so it’s hard to let go of caregiving. While this may be true, you’re only able to give your best when your needs are cared for too.
It may be easier to focus on yourself when you make it part of your schedule. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends getting organized and creating a routine. You might look into support groups nearby to find regular encouragement. Be sure to schedule time for your health through exercise and checkups. Finally, make respite care a priority. A temporary stay for your loved one at a place specializing in respite care can benefit you both.
Respite care means you step away from all caregiving duties for a period of time. Many different programs exist to provide respite to caregivers. Based on your needs, you may need to schedule an afternoon or a day at a time. However, you may also find value in longer periods of respite – such as over a week like Spring Break.
Through respite care, you’re able to:
• Rest, relax, and recharge
• Participate in hobbies or social activities
• Regain a sense of self outside of being a caregiver
• Lessen any conflict with your loved one by taking a break
• Focus on your own health needs
Remember, respite care doesn’t mean you don’t want to be there for your loved one. It means you’re taking the time to care for yourself so you can care for him or her. So, make it a priority. In the end, you’ll be glad you invested time in your own well-being.
At Walnut Place, our Spring Break Respite Program gives you time for yourself. Read more about our short-term, respite program or call (214) 361-8923 to schedule a tour.