The True Impact of Elder Care on Family Caregivers
If you’re providing care for a loved one who is living with age-related challenges or disabilities, you’re not alone. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving & AARP, around 44 million Americans are acting as family caregivers.
While such a huge portion of the population is involved in providing unpaid assistance for those they love, these individuals rarely have the support they require to maintain their own health and well-being. That’s why it’s crucial for family caregivers to have access to reliable, high-quality elder care services they can reach out to for assistance.
Many people view elder care as being primarily beneficial for older adults who need support with basic activities of daily living. However, professional care providers also work to promote the well-being of family caregivers by giving them respite from their duties, relief from worry, and time to focus on their own self-care.
At Visiting Angels®, we’re proud to offer care that supports elderly adults as well as any family members or close friends who are involved in their care.
The Physical, Mental, and Emotional Demands of Being a Caregiver
Caring for a loved one can be demanding in multiple regards. For example, if your loved one requires support with getting out of bed, bathing, or general mobility, you may feel completely exhausted. Rather than using any free time to cook yourself a healthy meal, get some exercise, or socialize with friends, you may find you no longer have the energy to do the kinds of activities that once brought you joy.
Caregiving is also mentally exhausting. This is especially true for those helping a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a memory disorder. It’s your responsibility to ensure they’re keeping up with their medication schedules and attending the appropriate doctors’ appointments or therapies. It’s also up to you to keep your loved one mentally stimulated and engaged in conversation. Having to be “on” all the time can leave you feeling totally burned out.
Finally, family caregivers must also deal with a range of emotions that often arise when assisting a loved one with age-related challenges. Although you may wish you could simply focus on making memories and spending precious time with your loved one, it’s almost impossible to maintain the relationship you once had while also managing their care needs.
It’s easy to become frustrated or angry when your loved one refuses care or pushes back on your style of caregiving. After all, they may not be prepared for this kind of role reversal. It can also be heart wrenching to see them struggle with activities of daily living that once came naturally to them.
How Our Elder Care Services Help Family Caregivers
In-home elder care can make the responsibility of caring for a loved one so much more manageable. It’s totally up to you which tasks you want the care provider to handle and how often you want them to visit. You can choose to continue meeting some of your loved one’s age-related needs, or simply focus on being the caring son, daughter, or grandchild you’ve always been.
From transportation to doctors’ appointments to medication reminders, mobility assistance, and dignified support with personal care, our team can offer any level of assistance required to help a senior age in place. This means we can easily step in to deliver care while you’re on an extended vacation, or we can take over the management of your loved one’s care requirements completely.
You can also have a professional care provider come by for a few hours each week to give you a much-needed break from your duties. Doing so will give you the gratification of participating in your loved one’s care while ensuring you can maintain a balanced lifestyle. As care visits can be scheduled around your work and social life, you can build a flexible plan of care based on both your needs and the needs of your loved one.
When to Reach Out For Professional Support
It’s never too early to get started with a professional care provider. Even if you feel your loved one’s care needs are manageable for the moment, they could change drastically without warning. Helping your loved one become familiar with their care provider and establishing a regular schedule will make the transition to professional in-home care easier and more comfortable for everyone.
Still unsure of whether it’s time to get started with professional elder care? Here are some signs of stress that could indicate your responsibilities are having a negative impact on your own health and well-being:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Often feeling tired or exhausted
- Inability to adopt a regular sleep schedule
- Significant weight changes
- Frequent headaches or body aches
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy