What does a standard day look like for you as a family care provider? For many family caregivers, it begins before dawn, assisting an older relative who has trouble sleeping during the night and is in need of assistance, or at least a person to talk to. From there, the day may be a bustle of activity: helping with personal care, preparing meals, running errands, providing transportation to exercise classes, medical appointments, or other excursions – the list is endless.
What a typical day may well not include, however, is time to yourself, to engage in activities you prefer or catching up with a good friend over a leisurely dinner. Even entertaining such thoughts might make you feel guilty. Yet taking care of yourself is extremely important to your overall health as a caregiver. To take it a step further, the person in your care also needs you to look after yourself. Doing so allows you to have more patience, relax, and provide more effective care.
How Can I Possibly Take Time Away?
It is true: your caregiving role is essential. Your loved one is depending on you, and taking time away to look after yourself isn’t easy! To further complicate matters, the senior in your care may resist the very idea of having another person temporarily fill your role. The following tips can help you take needed time away from caregiving while making sure the person you love will not only accept these breaks, but actually enjoy spending time with a respite caregiver.
- Pick your words carefully. The manner in which you present the idea of bringing in a caregiver can make a big difference in the senior’s comfort level. For example, most of us would not take too kindly to the thought of a new person coming in to give us a bath! But wouldn’t it be lovely to have someone come to help with housework, laundry, and preparing delicious meals? You can start out with these basic forms of respite services and work your way up to a more significant degree of care as required or as the senior and caregiver get to know each other.
- Use a sympathetic but firm approach. Rather than asking for the senior’s approval to take time away, clarify that you’ll be bringing in a trusted, friendly caregiver to help around the house. Start by inviting the caregiver to come over while you’re there in the beginning, if this eases the transition for the older adult and/or for you. This allows the caregiver and senior to get acquainted with each other, as well as the opportunity for the caregiver to make note of any information or specific routines that are important to the senior.
- Check in while away. Whenever you feel comfortable with the caregiver and are ready to step away, feel free to call to check and see how things are going. Or, you can ask the caregiver to take notes on how the day went and any issues that may have arisen. As you and the senior get comfortable with the caregiver, you can go out for longer amounts of time and on a more regular basis.
- Be sure you find the best caregiver. It’s extremely important to select an experienced caregiver from a professional home care provider that has fully evaluated, background-checked, and trained their staff. An ideal caregiver has also been carefully paired with your loved one based on compatibility, personality type, interests, and more, to enable a stronger and faster bond to develop.
Anthem Home Care is the perfect choice for respite care services that allow you to take the time needed for self-care. As one of the leading Portland home care agencies, we hire only the very best caregivers to ensure the highest levels of care for the older adults we serve. Call us today at 361-643-2323 to learn more, and visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.