In an ongoing effort to keep loved ones in their own homes longer (Aging in Place), many of us have, or will, become a caregiver to an elderly family member who can no longer care for themselves. Though intensions are good, we must understand that the added responsibility of having to care for someone can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. Patients are sometimes difficult to manage, especially if certain illnesses such as dementia are involved. Even for the most qualified, it is too much for one person to handle. In situations such as this, having a back-up caregiver can relieve stress and anxiety. Ideally we would want to recruit willing family members to assist with care giving, but sometimes that isn’t an option. Our lives are busy with work, children, events, school, etc. In many cases we need to rely on paid service providers or a private worker to fill in when needed. Understandably, it is difficult to take a break and let someone else care for your loved one, but with the right training, the backup caregiver will be capable of giving excellent, worry-free care while you take a break and bring some normalcy back to your life. In addition, having piece-of-mind knowing there is a qualified back-up in case of an emergency or your own illness, is invaluable. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you would do should a family member fall ill or need elderly care. Have a plan in place which includes immediate care and back-up care. If you don’t have other family members to help, start looking in your area for caregiver relief options. Have a plan in place which includes support.
June 4, 2012