Taking care of elderly parents is not an easy job, although it is an amazing experience. Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. has put together some information for those who have put their lives on hold to care for their elderly loved ones. We understand….as several of our staff members have been sole caregivers to a family loved one at some point.
When caring for elderly parents, even common, daily tasks can be a huge challenge. I became a caregiver when my mom’s health suddenly took a dive, due in part to her exhaustion from caring for my dad who suffered from late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. At that moment it became clear to me that those daily tasks and interactions had proved to be overwhelming for my elderly mom. I took a leave of absence from my job and went to my parents in Pennsylvania to step in and help my mom care for my dad. It wasn’t until then that I fully understood what my mom had been dealing with.
Although both of my parents have passed away, I use every opportunity as Client Care Manager, to be a resource and a listening ear for other family caregivers, as I know oh-so-well the stress and the challenges that go along with the unconditional love.
Baby Boomers who take on the role of a caregiver for an elderly parent, while at the same time trying to manage their own home, family, and full-time job have an increased risk of chronic illness, depression, and a possible overall decline in quality of life.
“Caregiver burnout affects a caregiver physically, mentally, and emotionally. It may be accompanied by a change of attitude, from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able, physically or financially.” (Carewisesolutions.org)
It’s so very important to take care of yourself first. Caring for a loved one with dementia or other cognitive issues can take its toll on you, the caregiver, and it affects the relationships that you have with other family members and friends. Whether your caregiving is voluntary, or you had no choice in assuming the responsibilities, the chances are greater that you will experience distress, strain, and even at times, resentment.
Feelings of guilt are a major issue for family caregivers as many believe that they are not devoting enough time to other family members because of exhaustion.
Don’t be afraid to seek outside support in the form of a support group of other family caregivers, or a therapist. Stress and exhaustion can adversely affect your health in so many ways. It’s impossible to provide adequate care for a loved one unless you’re caring for yourself as well. Joining a yoga class or an online, or in-person meditation group can work wonders.
If you need some extended time to exhale, Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. offers respite care for family caregivers in need of a break. Our CNAs are trained in dementia care and will offer compassionate, professional assistance to your loved one while you take some time for yourself, to regroup, refocus and renew. Call us today at (919) 301-0236 to discuss and schedule a new client assessment.