The Challenge of Caring For an Aging Loved One on Your Own
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
In America it’s become common to live a fast paced life, with goals that keep us in a constant grind to get or stay ahead. Most of us don’t anticipate caring for aging parent or family member at some point. While caring for an elderly loved one can feel rewarding, it also comes with periods of being overwhelmed and stressed. And if you find yourself dealing with a long-term care type of situation, the chance of dealing with these types of emotion are almost a certainty.
When your primary focus is on caring for an aging or ailing parent, these potentially harmful symptoms often go unnoticed. This can eventually take a toll on your health, mind, and personal goals which can lead to “caregiver burnout” – a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Once this point has been reached, it’s common for the quality of care to decline which isn’t healthy for the caregiver or receiver.
With this in mind, it’s important that if we’re taking care of a loved that we can see the signs of caregiver stress and know what options are available in trying to alleviate it.
Potential Caregiver Stress Indicators
Abnormal moodiness, anger or sadness
Withdrawal from social activities and interaction
Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
Changes in eating habits with either weight loss or weight gain
Recurring headaches, stomachaches and frequent cold
Difficulty focusing on other areas of your life, leading to reduced work performance
Feeling of hopelessness or depression
Excessive stress, especially for a prolonged period of time, can damage your health drastically. As a family caregiver, you may not get good sleep, have a balanced diet, or enough time for physical activity – all contributing to a risk of developing health problems. Keep reading to know how you can manage caregivers’ stress efficiently.
How to Deal with the Caregivers’ Stress
The physical, financial, and emotional demands of caring for someone with declining health can takes its toll, even on the most resilient of us. So what can we do and what resources are available to those of us that are in this particular situation?
Know What Exactly You Can Offer: While it’s ok to feel guilty sometimes, you should understand that no one is “perfect.” Believe that you are putting in your best efforts, are making the best decisions regarding caregiving, and worthy of a pat on the back.
Get Social Support: You aren’t the only one dealing with this. There are groups with other members going through similar experiences that may understand your unique situation and offer you suggestions worth considering and of great value.
Set Personal Health-Related Goals: Whether it’s a getting consistent sleep, eating right, or exercising a few times per week, don’t forget about yourself. When stressed and focusing on another, these are usually some of the first things we let go of and the impact can be detrimental over time.
Consider Professional Support from a Home Health Agency: It may be tough to imagine someone else to take care of your aging or ailing loved one, but it is a great option for taking the much-needed break to alleviate stress and hit the reset button.
It doesn’t have to be full-time as most home health agencies offer part-time care. They will more than likely have some minimum hours that need to be met but that may be all you need to give yourself a break and be able to focus on yourself a little.
Another benefit of this is that a licensed home health agency will have a care plan constructed by a registered nurse that has more than likely dealt with this more than you. Even when they are not there, the care plan guidelines may show you a more efficient way of caring for your aging loved one that reduces your stress levels.
Most services provided can be done by a homemaker companion, home health aide, or a skilled nurse depending on the level of care required. It’s worth giving a home health agency a call and getting a free care plan estimate to see if it can make sense for you.
Here are some common advantages of hiring a care giver from an established home care agency:
No hassles of screening, hiring, paying, background and state regulation compliance verification of the caregiver as all these are handled by the agency
Variety of caregiving services to choose from
Professional and compassionate care and easy customization of care plan
Easy replacement and arrangement of a substitute
Easy dispute settlement
May be covered under long-term care insurance
If you are looking into home health agencies in Palm Beach County, consider contacting us at Unified Pledge Home Health! Our professional caretakers come with the following advantages:
Level II FBI background checks of all staff
Driving history checks
Homemaker Companions, Home Health Aides, & LPNs are our direct employees. Not independent contractors
Constant communication to patients, family, and care team
Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan
An in home assessment and care plan estimate is always FREE at Unified Pledge Home Health. We therefore encourage you to connect with us now to see how we can be a great comforting companion through your journey of family caregiving! CLICK HERE.
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