How to Take a Break as a Senior Caregiver

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 28 January 2013

Read today's post for a few simple ways to take a break when caring for a senior.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?


There are 4 Comments about this post

  1. Ron Whitaker says,

    While I was caregiving for my parents, I was adamant about continuing working out at the gym Monday-Friday mornings.

    I can’t say enough about working out and exercise!

    Finishing a good session of weight lifting and cardio really got the endorphins flowing through my system and helped me get through each day.

    For caregivers, I say, if possible, make sure you take time for yourself to exercise.


    on 29 January 2013 / 7:23 PM

  2. That’s excellent, Ron. Good for you for making exercise a priority! I’m glad to know that it was helpful in your caregiving experience too…taking care of yourself is so important while caring for another! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.


    on 30 January 2013 / 10:19 AM

  3. Edie Dykeman says,

    We caregivers must take time for ourselves if only for a few hours. My 90-year-old father is going to a senior center twice a week for the day. Their bus picks him up before 8:00 a.m. and drops him off around 3:00 p.m. He eats breakfast and lunch there, exercises, plays games, visits health care doctors and nurses, etc. He is in the PACE program that is subsidize by our state (Michigan).


    on 01 February 2013 / 12:56 PM

  4. That’s wonderful, Edie! It sounds like Michigan has a great program in place and it’s even better that your father is taking advantage of it. Appreciate your comments and agree — if only for a few hours, caregivers need a break.


    on 01 February 2013 / 1:00 PM


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