So how does this apply to family caregivers? Caregiving is probably one of the most difficult things any of us will ever do. Effective caregivers understand that developing a support “team” helps them care for their loved one both physically and emotionally. Caregiving teams can consist of family members, friends and health care professionals who can assist in finding services and resources to help care for your loved one.
Check with your village/city/township or local hospital to see if they have an older adult services division. Then CALL THEM!
Ask for help – if you have other family members in the area call and ask them to help you with the care needs. Then LET THEM DO IT! Let go of the need to control because it is part of the cause of your burnout.
Volunteers – Check with local senior services or congregations to see if they have volunteers that would be willing to sit with your loved one while you take time to run errands or just take a break.
Respite Care – If you care for someone in a home setting you can hire a caregiver to come to the home to manage their care for a week or two. Consider as well scheduling a respite stay at an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
Support group – Though it seems that there’s no time to add another item to your calendar, it is important to make the time. Group participants understand how challenging the caregiving journey is, especially when caring for someone who is declining both physically and mentally. Aside from being a great emotional support, the group leaders and participants may have suggestions on resources to help navigate the health care system.
Develop an “on-call” friend – ask a close friend to act as a sounding board (sometimes just a venting board) so you can release the pent-up emotions without concern of judgment or criticism.
Consider counseling – counselors can assist in dealing with the natural feelings that come with caregiving. Among these are anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, and guilt. Talking to a professional can offer suggestions on ways to reduce stress and support healthier ways of relating. Unfortunately, many caregivers don’t take time for counseling until their caregiving days are over. (If you are a working caregiver, counseling may be provided as part of your health insurance package so call your health insurance provider. Companies offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s), may also cover counseling. Caregivers age sixty or over may qualify for counseling under the Older Americans Act, Title III-B.)
Instead of DIY caregiving try DIWH (Do it with Help) and start creating your team TODAY!!