Caring for the Caregiver
By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG
Respite is defined as a period of rest or relief. How many of us in our daily lives take time out for a period of rest — whether it is to read the newspaper, sit outside and enjoy the evening or soak in a hot bath. How many of us don’t realize the number of people who don’t have the opportunity for these small moments of rest and peace or an entire weekend off? These people are the caregivers of life.
As any new mother will tell you, she never has a moment alone, except when the newborn is asleep. The baby takes all of her time and energy. A caregiver of an older adult who is frail, disabled and unable to live alone faces the same duty and responsibility. Most new mothers have a new father to provide respite care so that the mother can take time for herself. Many caregivers, whether a spouse, family member or a friend, have no one who can step in to give the caregiver even a few hours of time for themselves or a good night’s rest.
Respite is essential for anyone who is a full time caregiver. Without periods of rest, caregivers become exhausted, ill, short-tempered and burned out. On an ongoing basis, full time caregiving deteriorate physicals health and mental well-being.
If you are a full time caregiver for an older adult, you may already be exhausted and seeking solutions. Do not wait until you are using your last ounce of strength to seek respite for yourself. Help exists in the way of in home care, provided by many companies who offer assistance for seniors and their caregivers, and care communities that provide short-term respite for caregivers who wish to take a short vacation or who need time to attend to personal business.
Plan ahead and arrange time for yourself on a weekly basis – even if it is one or two mornings or afternoons a week. You’ll be surprised what a positive difference this time makes in your overall physical health and mental attitude.
© 2012, 2013 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved