How To Reduce The Stress Of A Family Caregiver
Acting as the primary caregiver to a seriously ill or aging family member may seem like the only choice you have. You may have chosen this direction for financial, personal, religious, or even moral reasons. Regardless of your reasons, it is inevitable that you will face challenges. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent or alleviate their impact on you and the rest of your family, allowing you to make the best of your situation.
Family Caregiver Impacts, Stresses And Challenges
The most common and obvious problems include the time and money that serving as the family caregiver can take away from work, personal care, and family time. But these considerations can divert attention away from more subtle issues that can accrue with time, and in their own way, be equally as important. The difference is that these issues are rarely apparent at first.
Some people know for a fact that they don’t get along well with their seniors. On the other hand, many feel they have a reasonably good relationship. In either instance, once you start providing physical care for a family member, you may suddenly find it surprisingly hard to communicate with them over the simplest everyday things. When they were able to care for themselves, you could limit interaction to subjects or to time intervals that were mutually agreeable. However, once you have to cooperate and communicate continually over every detail, weak interpersonal skills can surface, be magnified and nerves can grow short. Pet peeves, misunderstandings, and even smoldering decades old resentments can make life miserable, both for you and your senior family member. This can affect the entire family to the extent they are involved with the caregiving or are just within earshot. What was once an acceptable relationship can now become strained to the breaking point.
All of this may be made worse if your spouse and in-laws clash more than ever under these new caregiving conditions. You may find yourself placed in the middle of “factions” and that you are now the focal point of negative energy coming from all sides. Some couples have even split up because one person put their parent’s care above their spouse’s needs. In less than ideal family situations, you may suffer both physically and emotionally unless you seek a little quality help.
Even if you and other adults can tolerate less than favorable interactions with your senior family member, you might consider the impact on children or grandchildren whose view of their grandparent, aunt, uncle, (or even you) becomes distorted or diminished over time by witnessing poor modeling. And what about the impact on children or grandchildren who receive inadequate attention because your family caregiver duties are just draining too much out of you? You yourself may know that the situation will only last a relatively short while, until the person under your care is better or passes on, but a few months or years can seem like forever to children. Missing out on quality time and attention for that period of time can have a lasting impact.
Potential Solutions And Aids
Spreading caregiving duties among various family members can often help relieve the strain. Assuming some of your siblings or extended family live close enough, you can share the responsibilities. However, if you endure some of the above challenges, you may be able to learn a few ideas, techniques, and perspectives from an experienced professional home health caregiver. Hiring their services for just a few hours here and there could be just enough to help you work out some problems present in your unique family dynamics. Handing the caregiving over to a professional caregiver, for a short amount of time, allows you to proceed forward more positively and productively. It can afford you a chance to “regroup” and ultimately make for a happier season in your senior’s life. And you don’t have to stay around the house to learn from your caregiver, they can confer with you when coming or going, providing you with insights and tips while still allowing you to get a little time away to yourself.
If you find you need more than a little help, a whole range of affordable possibilities may be open to you–from day-shift or night-shift home care workers, to round-the-clock or live-in home care. In addition to physically assisting your loved one, professional caregivers can also provide other services such as running errands, shopping and light housework. They can lend emotional support. This support is never limited to only your senior. It is also there freely available to you and any other family members whenever needed.
Assumptions about cost should never prevent you from exploring potentially life changing solutions and improvements. We are always happy to discuss your situation and offer affordable options. We can help you sort through various kinds of insurance benefits, some of which you may not even know you are entitled to receive.
At Home and Hearth Caregivers, we are always mindful of the big picture. For us it is to provide the highest quality outcome that is humanly possible, for you and for every other member of your family. Contact us for a free consultation.