Caring for an older person can be rewarding, but also demanding, difficult, and very stressful. The caregiver may need to be available around the clock to fix meals, provide nursing care, take care of laundry and cleaning, drive to doctor’s appointments, and pay bills. Oftentimes, caregivers must give up their own employment to take care of these responsibilities or squeeze them in between employment and other family obligations.
It can be difficult to keep a positive outlook when there’s little hope of the older person’s physical and mental condition improving. Over time, the demands and stress of caregiving can take their toll. Anger, resentment, and spiraling emotions can be the result of caregiver stress.
If you are a caregiver, make sure you have time to rest and take care of your needs. You can ask a family member or friend to help out for a weekend, or even for a few hours, so that you can take some time for yourself. Some community service organizations provide caregivers a break, called respite care. In other communities, such as our own, the assisted living center will do daycare for the elderly.
Steps can be taken to help relieve caregiver stress such as: getting outdoors, getting enough sleep, taking time or yourself, reading, meditating, and asking for help.
Resources for caregivers:
www.alz.org (Alzheimer’s Association)
www.alzheimers.gov (the government site for caregivers)
www.wellspouse.org (provides support for spousal caregivers)
Visit your local SHIP (SHIBA in Idaho) counselor for one-on-one insurance counseling and Medicare information: Kim Hulme 208.847.0949