If your older loved one requires daily assistance with everyday tasks, stepping into the role of their caregiver becomes a full-time commitment, especially if they are living with a chronic illness or cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s, any form of dementia or Parkinson’s. When caring for a loved one becomes your top priority, everything else – catching up with friends, doing what brings you joy, caring for your own health – is often pushed to the wayside. What many family caregivers don’t realize is that it is possible to take care of your loved one and still enjoy a fulfilling, healthy lifestyle of your own.
There’s no denying that full-time caregiving is a stressful job. Considering the documented physical and emotional health issues that occur within the caregiving population, frequent accounts of sleep deprivation, fatigue, high blood pressure, isolation and depression are just some of the reasons why caregivers should be taking intentional measures to utilize resources, such as respite care, in order to care for their own well-being.
Taking a Break to Temper Your Stress
Some family caregivers have a hard time handing off their duties to others, even temporarily. Their personal responsibility for their loved one’s well-being could become so deeply rooted that they’ll sacrifice their own pleasure and health in order to continue providing care. While these efforts are noble, they aren’t worth the risk of overwhelming stress and its consequences. A caregiver can’t provide for their loved one if they themselves are running on empty.
For those who are hesitant to let go of their caregiving duties, they should learn to look at respite care, either from a family member, neighbor or professional service, as an invaluable tool for best caring for their loved one. With this perspective, caregivers can look beyond the guilt or fear of accepting help and recognize the many benefits to enjoying a bit of respite.
7 Essential Benefits of Respite Care
Seeking out respite care for your loved one is appropriate for a number of situations. Whether you take a long-overdue vacation, need time to rest and recover from an illness, spend the afternoon catching up with a friend or just enjoy a little “me-time,” the benefits you gain from these activities can help you keep your body and spirit strong. The article, “Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers,” describes several benefits of having some time away from caregiving:
- Renewal – Doing the things that bring you joy can reduce stress, calm your nerves and decrease your heart rate. Pursue the activities that you love for a healthy dose of self-care and rejuvenation.
- Energy – Trying to balance the responsibilities of home, work and caregiving can drain you of energy. Taking a break allows you to re-energize and, ultimately, be more effective in everything you do.
- Space – Distancing yourself from your situation – even for just a few hours – gives you the chance to be ‘off’ for a while, so you can rest, relax and be at ease, knowing your loved one is in good hands.
- Pleasure – No matter what our responsibilities or circumstances, everyone deserves to enjoy life. Making the time to do as you please allows for purposeful, fulfilled living.
- Identity – It’s important to remind yourself that you are more than just your loved one’s caregiver. Maintain your sense of self and take care of your personal needs and desires.
- Time Away – Spending time away from your caregiving duties can help you to see things more clearly and gain a better perspective. Taking time to rest and clear your mind can even help you think of new ideas or resources.
- Engagement – Caregivers suffer from social isolation as much as their loved ones do. It’s important for your emotional health to socialize with your friends and family on a regular basis.
In addition to the benefits that the caregiver receives from utilizing respite care, their loved one benefits from a change of pace, new surroundings and activities to do and, if they’re enjoying respite care at a senior living community, socializing with their peers and making new acquaintances, they may even discover that a community lifestyle is one they’d like to consider in the future.
Allowing Seniors and Their Caregivers to Live Well
When guests enjoy a respite stay at Tuscan Gardens, they can expect to experience all the resort-style services, amenities and surroundings that our long-term residents enjoy. From signature dining experiences in our Tuscan Kitchen to a variety of leisure, cultural and educational activities, those here for a respite stay have options and opportunities to take in the day however they please. And, their families enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is in the hands or our compassionate and talented professional staff of caregivers.