What does a normal day look like for family care providers? For many individuals, it starts before dawn, assisting a senior family member who has issues sleeping through the night and is in need of help, or at least somebody to speak to. After that, the day may be a flurry of activity: helping with personal care, preparing meals, running errands, providing transportation to exercise classes, medical appointments, or any other excursions – the list goes on and on.
What an average day might not involve, however, is time to yourself, to engage in activities you like or catching up with a good friend over a relaxing dinner. Even entertaining such ideas might make you feel guilty. Yet taking care of yourself is very important to your overall health as a caregiver. To take it a step further, the senior in your care also needs you to take care of yourself. Doing this enables you to have more patience and provide more effective care.
How Can I Possibly Take Time Away?
It’s true: your caregiving role is crucial. Your loved one is depending on you, and taking time away to take care of yourself isn’t easy! To complicate matters further, the person in your care may balk at the notion of having another individual temporarily fill your role. The following tips can help you take necessary breaks from care while ensuring the person you love will not only accept these breaks, but genuinely enjoy spending time with a respite caregiver.
- Pick your words carefully. How you present the idea of bringing in a caregiver can make a significant difference in the senior’s comfort level. As an example, most of us wouldn’t take too kindly to the concept of a total stranger showing up to bathe us! But wouldn’t it be nice to have someone come in to help with housework, laundry, and preparing delicious meals? You can always start out with these basic types of services and work your way up to a greater degree of care as required or as the senior and caregiver get acquainted with each other.
- Use a compassionate but firm approach. As opposed to asking for the senior’s permission to take some time away, make it clear that you will be bringing in a trusted, friendly caregiver to help around the house. Begin by inviting the caregiver to drop by while you’re there initially, if this eases the transition for the senior and/or for you. This allows the caregiver and senior to get to know each other, along with the chance for the caregiver to make note of any information or special routines that are important to the person.
- Check in while away. Once you feel comfortable with the caregiver and are prepared to leave the house for some self-care, feel free to call to check and see how things are going. Or, you can ask the caregiver to make notes on how the day went and any issues that may have arisen. As you and the senior get comfortable with the caregiver, you can leave for extended periods of time and on a more frequent basis.
- Ensure you choose the right caregiver. It is extremely important to choose an experienced caregiver from a professional agency that has fully evaluated, background-checked, and trained their employees. An ideal caregiver has also been carefully matched up with your loved one based on interests, compatibility, personality type, and more, to ensure that a stronger and faster bond can develop.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care is the best choice for respite care services that allow family care providers to take the time needed for self-care. As a professional provider of senior care in Shawnee and the surrounding communities, we hire only the very best caregivers to guarantee the highest quality care for the people we serve. Contact us today at 913-440-4209 to discover more!