Just as we require a day off weekly and several days of rest annually, primary caregivers should require respite.
Caregivers, especially unpaid family members, often need an interval of relief more—but utilize it less. One factor is the emotions tied up in the act of caregiving. You may feel you are the only one who can truly provide adequate care—or that seeking respite shows either weakness or lack of care. You might also worry that you cannot afford assistance or that no one would help if you asked.
According to HelpGuide.org, “Those with strong support systems, creative respite arrangements, and regular time away not only fare better, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.”
The alternative? Caregiver burnout. This includes depression, illness and inability to continue your caregiving role. This is what it comes down to: respite so you can continue to care.
The National Institute on Aging has some tips for asking for help, here they are:
- It’s okay to ask for help from family, friends, and others. I don’t have to do everything myself.
- Ask people to help out in specific ways like making a meal, visiting the person, or taking the person out for a short time.
- Join a support group to share advice and understanding with other caregivers.
- Call for help from home health care or adult day care services when you need it.
- Use national and local resources to find out how to pay for some of this help
Additionally, here is our resource page “Options to Pay for Care.”
Contact the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Idaho Chapter and seek out a support group. Beyond finding others who can empathize, you will have access to numerous ideas and resources. If you know others in similar situations, for instance: at your church, create your own support network. You need to care for yourself spiritually as much as emotionally and physically.
Is it time for a stress check? Answer this quick questionnaire online at ALZ.org.
Remember, the most loving thing you can do is take precautions which enable you to continue caregiving.