If you’re among the 40 million unpaid caregivers assisting elderly relatives, you may be under tremendous strain and not even realize it. The typical caregiver is a woman in her mid-forties. She’s often a full-time worker, married and a mother of teenage children.
- The first step to mitigating your stress is to delegate some of your responsibilities. Ask for help from family members who are patient and have a good rapport with your older relative.
- Schedule bi-weekly or monthly family meetings in person or on the phone.
- Agree on specific tasks and times others can handle.
If family members are not available, consider enlisting the services of a private homecare provider, even for just a few hours a week. Homecare providers understand the needs of people with chronic, debilitating conditions. They also are trained in dementia care.
A homecare provider can assist your loved one with housekeeping, laundry, bathing and personal grooming, also meal preparation.
If your loved one has a veterans’ insurance plan or if infirmities relate to military service, veterans’ benefits may apply toward private homecare.
It’s not uncommon for caregivers planning or attending family gatherings to feel overwhelmed or to fret when excluding an older loved one. The good news is, homecare providers can accompany their clients to family events, shopping excursions and medical appointments.
To secure the services of a homecare provider, it’s best to allow time—about a week—to set up care arrangements. A homecare provider can help you pinpoint the kinds of support needed for older adults as well as those with chronic conditions and others recuperating from surgery or rehab.
When you feel confident your loved one is comfortable with their caregiver, you can relax and focus on some of your own needs. Plus, your loved one might enjoy meeting someone new.
Kathy Semrow R.N, director of Life Care at Home, a not-for-profit provider of private in-home personal care, shares her 42 years of nursing experience.