You need a time out!
Well … not the type you might assign your child!
Your time out is from caregiving.
Caring for a loved one who requires daily support is a full-time job. No one doubts that.
And that job can be especially involving if your loved one has a chronic health condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. Often, providing care can take its toll on you as well, affecting physical and emotional well-being.
As with any job, you deserve an occasional timeout to rest, recharge and return to your role with renewed energy.
Unfortunately, many caregivers ignore the need for a break. Whether they feel fully responsible for meeting every one of their loved one’s needs—or they simply don’t know how to obtain help—caregivers can quickly burn out.
If that occurs, the situation can affect other aspects of your life, including not only your physical health but also emotional stability, family relationships and more.
Moreover, when you’re drained, it’s hard to give your best to the person depending on you for care.
Respite care is an ideal solution for busy caregivers hoping to avoid burnout and practice some necessary self-care.
Respite care is frequently offered by senior living communities, such as those within Diakon Senior Living Services, on a day-by-day basis, or by such programs as Diakon Adult Day Services, which has locations in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown, Maryland.
Using respite care for a few days or weeks can help you to take care of yourself, while knowing your loved one is being cared for by professionals in an environment that promotes socialization and engagement with others.
In “Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers,” author Shelley Webb, RN, describes the benefits of taking a time out:
● Renewal – Taking a break from caregiving lets you spend your time on things you enjoy. These activities can help you to reduce stress, calm down and lower your heart rate. Finding joy is an important form of self-care that can lead to a renewal of your spirit and passions.
● Energy – Caring for a loved one—along with other responsibilities—can consume all your energy. A time out lets you re-energize and be more effective when you return to your caregiving role.
● Space – When you distance yourself from your circumstances, even for just a few hours, you have the opportunity to relax and rest, free of constant monitoring and to-do lists.
● Pleasure – Making the time to do what you want is necessary for purposeful, fulfilled living. No matter what your responsibilities are, everyone deserves to enjoy life.
● Identity – You should remind yourself often that you are more than just your loved one’s caregiver. You can maintain your sense of self by taking care of your needs and desires.
● Time Away – Stepping back briefly from caregiving can give you the chance to see your situation more clearly and gain a new perspective. Rest and rejuvenation can even inspire new ideas for providing better care.
● Engagement – Caregivers, not just their loved ones, suffer from isolation from friends and community. Engaging with those outside your caregiving tasks is important for your emotional well-being and quality of life.
In addition to respite care offered by Diakon senior living communities and by Diakon adult day care centers, a number of Diakon’s senior-care locations offer monthly Alzheimer’s support groups, memory cafes or similar programs. Just contact the Diakon senior living community nearest you for more information.
Whether you take advantage of our adult day services or a short-term respite stay, you’ll have the time to rest and renew while knowing your loved one is in good hands.
Administrator, Diakon Adult Day Services