Respite from Senior Caregiving: Caring for the Caregiver

The demands of taking on the responsibilities of caring for an aging parent or other relative can take a toll on both the mental and physical well-being of the caregiver.  Caregivers who lack sufficient support or respite resources risk suffering from “compassion fatigue”, which is an exhaustion that overcomes the caregiver and can cause excessive feelings of guilt.  This exhaustion is beneficial to neither the caregiver nor the one receiving care – it is vital to schedule enough breaks from daily caregiving in order to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of the caregiver, which in turn benefits the one receiving care. 

Many support groups exist nationwide specifically to help caregivers cope with the strain of caring for a sick or elderly loved one.  While support groups are certainly beneficial, it is important for family caregivers to realize that they do not have to shoulder the entire burden of caregiving with no rest.  Options exist to help ease the exhaustion that can result from relentless caregiving.

Respite care exists so that the primary caregiver can take a vacation - whether it is a vacation out of the home, or a vacation within the home that provides a break from caregiving duties.  Adult day care is another option for family members who need to run errands or go to an appointment without worrying about how their loved one will be cared for or supervised while they are gone.  It is important for caregivers to realize that they need to consistently care for themselves while caring for another in order to provide care to the best of their abilities.  It is additionally important for relatives to realize when they are no longer able to fully care for a loved one entirely on their own. 

If your family is looking into beginning care services, Caregiverlist provides a chart that compares the by-state costs of several senior care options, including home care, live-in care, nursing home, and assisted living.  You may additionally research the costs of nursing homes in your area from our directory of the daily costs of 18,000 nursing homes nationwide.  Or, if home care would be most appropriate for your needs, allow us to connect you with quality home care agencies in your area.

Family caregivers may also take a 10-hour online caregiver training course to become certified as a caregiver and gain the skills needed to be a non-medical senior caregiver.

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