Being a caregiver for a senior is a round-the-clock responsibility. Though there may be many rewards and joys in the journey, the reality is that the care of another human being is utterly exhausting. Taking a break and getting adequate rest (which is more than just a good night’s sleep) is vitally important for the health of the caregiver, and consequently the senior. However, finding time to do just that is often so difficult and overwhelming that many caregivers push through the exhaustion and eventually burn out.
Here are a few simple ways to take a break:
1. Check for respite care options in assisted living. Many communities offer short-term stays.
2. Bring in home care. Even if it’s for just a few hours a week (or even month) to start, shifting the burden of care can help greatly. You can gradually increase or decrease services as needed.
3. Contract with/hire a cleaning service. It may sound like a luxury item that you can’t afford (or shouldn’t splurge on), but imagine how your stress level might subside if you didn’t have to do the dishes, laundry, or any housework once or twice a week, or even once or twice a month? The investment is likely worth the payoff in this case.
4. Delegate tasks. Caregiving takes a village and you need to ask for help. You might be surprised to find that many friends and family are willing if they know what’s needed.
5. Take advantage of mini breaks. For example, when your brother is taking Mom to her doctor’s appointment, take a long, hot bath instead of a rushed shower.
Sound-off: Current and former caregivers, how do/did you take a break?