Ways to Support the Caregiver in your Family

Ways to Support the Caregiver in your Family

adult-daughter-lovingly-looking-at-mother-caregiverCaring for an older family member 24/7 is the ultimate act of love, but it can begin to wear on a person’s physical and mental health. When a senior loved one suffers from health problems or dementia, it can be especially trying for the people providing them with daily support. Caregivers may find themselves:

  • Not eating right
  • Losing sleep and becoming fatigued
  • Suffering physical or emotional health consequences

Roughly 15.7 million Americans are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, both of which introduce a specific set of challenges. Sometimes a medical emergency, or simply going without enough rest and support, can leave a family in crisis.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, there are many ways you can support the caregiver in your life.

Tap into Your Network

Extra social support has been shown to reduce depression among caregivers, so the first thing to do is reach out and let them know you’re there. Coordinate with your network of friends and relatives to take turns reaching out or scheduling visits. Even a simple phone call can reduce the caregiver’s level of distress. Remind them that when they hit their limits, it’s time for some self-care.

More Flexibility

Anyone who dutifully cares for an older loved one should have the flexibility to participate in their own social activities guilt-free. Find out if other family members can do more to share the caregiving responsibilities. If that is not an option, consider using a professional service with on-call service providers who can fill in nights, weekends, and holidays. If an emergency arises, or if they just need a break, the caregiver will be relieved to know that support is available.

Respite Care

Respite care can provide short-term relief for primary caregivers, whether it lasts just a few hours or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center. This enables the caregiver to take a well-deserved break from the service they have been providing.

While the respite care worker tends to the older relative, the main caregiver is free to meet friends for lunch, attend a hair appointment, or simply relax and recover at home. Research your options to find a trustworthy provider so that you can rest assured knowing your loved one is in the best of hands.

Community Helpers

It’s quite possible that the person providing care hasn’t reached out to ask for help. Because they’re busy dedicating themselves to the needs of others, they often need assistance with daily activities of their own. Find out if there are neighbors who can prepare meals, shop, pick up their medications, or arrange for transportation for the caregiver.

Have you asked the caregiver about time-consuming tasks in their life that are causing them stress? You might find out they need help managing their finances or performing occasional household chores. If the caregiver has children, you can offer to pick them up from school or bring them to soccer practice.

Caregiver Support Program

Not every caregiver has access to the tools, education, and support they need to balance caring for their loved ones and caring for themselves. To prevent the buildup of fatigue and resentment, look for other ways to offer this person relief and downtime. Find out about tools or local support programs – and then make sure they know about them, as well. If you’re out of options or don’t know where to start, an advisor can support family, friends, and neighbors who provide care for a senior.

Nearby Services

Caregivers who take advantage of elder care services for aging relatives often experience lower levels of stress, anger, and depression, as well as increased well-being. If the role becomes too much for the caregiver in your family, or if you just want to offer some support, look for a local in-home care program that provides tailored service to local elders in the community.

Once caregivers get help of their own, they will need to know their family member is in good hands. Right at Home is a family-owned and operated agency that offers a wide range of award-winning home care services. We are active participants in regional medical associations and community groups dedicated to a code of ethics and understanding for seniors. Contact us to find out more about how to support the caregiver in your life.

Right at Home Salem Marblehead, MA
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