You’ve been taking care of your aging mother for over a year now while also juggling a part-time job and managing a household. And although caring for mom has been fulfilling and rewarding, it’s starting to wear you down. Not only do you constantly feel tired, your job performance is suffering and so is your marriage. Caregiver fatigue is a common problem that many informal family caregivers experience, especially when they’re shouldering most of the responsibilities. If you’re serving as the primary family caregiver, to protect your health and wellbeing, it’s O.K. sometimes to reach out for help.
Do I Have Caregiver Fatigue?
Caregiving isn’t supposed to be a one-person job, but unfortunately for many that ends up being the case. According to WebMD, these are some classic warning signs of caregiver fatigue that you need to watch for:
- Anxiety and depression
- Feeling stressed out all the time
- Putting off other responsibilities
- Trouble sleeping
- Abusing food, alcohol or drugs
- Being short-tempered
- Resentment towards the person you’re caring for
- Not taking care of yourself
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyed
- Feeling tired all the time
- Getting sick more often
As an informal caregiver who’s going non-stop, the first step is admitting that you need help.
What Do I Need Help with?
Make a list of caregiving duties that you’ve been performing for your loved one, such as:
- Personal care: bathing, eating, grooming, toileting.
- Medical care: medication management, health-related appointments, insurance
- Household duties: Meals, cleaning, laundry, shopping, bill paying, transportation
- Social: companionship, activities
Once you’ve got your list, it’s time to find some assistance!
Who Should I Ask?
Swallow your pride and don’t be afraid to ask for support, even if it means paying for it. Here are some potential sources of respite (relief) care:
Family Members & Friends
Oftentimes caring for an aging parent falls upon the shoulders of the eldest child because the other siblings just assume everything is fine. Hold a family meeting with your siblings and give them an update about mom or dad’s condition and explain why you need help. Once you’ve got their support, divvy up the weekly responsibilities based on each person’s strengths and availability. If your family members all back out, thank them for coming and go to Plan B.
There are a lot of community-based resources that are designed to give informal caregivers a break. Locate some trusted sources using a website like the Eldercare Directory. Some of the options out there may include:
- Senior transportation services
- Food shopping assistance
- Assisted living facilities
- Meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels
- Professional caregivers
Not only can an adult daycare center give you a well-deserved break, most offer social activities and meals for the seniors going there. They can be an invaluable resource when it’s time for you to take time off!
If you attend a place of worship, speak to one of the leaders there about your situation. Many churches and synagogues offer support for families that are caring for an elderly loved one, including meals, transportation and companionship.
Medication reminders, refills and pickups are time-consuming. Instead, consider a full-service, online pharmacy like PillPack. For a fee, PillPack will ship pre-packaged medications right to your loved one’s door and even bill their insurance provider.
Professional In-Home Care
Home care agencies have respite caregivers that can step in and assist your senior with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, cleaning, meal preparation and transportation. Home health companies can even provide skilled care like wound dressing changes and physical therapy that are covered by Medicare. Your loved one may have insurance benefits for basic home care costs if they have a long-term care policy or served in the military.
Private In-Home Respite Care for Florida Seniors
Serving as an informal family caregiver is rewarding, but it can also be very demanding and stressful. When you need a break, contact First In Care in Bradenton. As a private, fully licensed and insured home care agency, our well-trained respite caregivers will step in and serve as an extended family in your loved one’s home so they can continue aging safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be.
Our compassionate in-home services include personal care, companionship, transportation and even 24-hour care. And, all our amenities can be individually combined into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about First In Care now, or to speak with a home care advisor about a senior in Manatee County, FL, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.