Providing care to an elderly loved one is incredibly stressful. If you’ve done this for any length of time, you know that this stress is deceiving in its nature, too. It’s not an acute stress that vanishes as soon as you’re in bed for the night. No, it’s a kind of stress that builds gradually and silently over time. It’s a stress that doesn’t disappear when the day is over. It can ebb and flow over time, but it’s one that can build and build. Sometimes we don’t even know that it’s building up until it’s so obvious that it’s too late.
When this happens, the quality of care that we are able to provide suffers. Not only are we tired, miserable, and beat up, the people that depend on us don’t get our best. Everyone suffers when the stress of being a family caregiver takes over.
Care shouldn’t be like that. Yes, there’s not a ton that can be done to alleviate the pain of seeing a loved one decline in health. This is a part of being a loving family. When someone you care about hurts, you will inevitably hurt, too. However, there are things that you can do to help alleviate that pain. Ensuring the best care and circumstances is perhaps the most effective thing for this.
This is easier said than done, though.
Some people are hit harder by this stress than others. For example, research indicates that more men than women provide care for a family member. When women provide care, they typically do so for a period of six years. When men do this, it’s considerably shorter at just four years. It makes sense that women will be more severely impacted by the stress of providing care than men will be.
But stress isn’t uniform. What is stressful for one person won’t be stressful for another. Some people can provide family care with ease, while it takes a huge toll on others. Knowing which category you and your family fall into is important. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean that it will work for another. You have an obligation to help your family based on their needs–and the issue of stress and caregiving might have a deeper impact on you than on others.
If so, you have options in front of you. Respite care can help you to take a break and rest while you get ready to go back to providing full time care. The use of a professional in-home caregiver might be another option you’d be interested in. Assisted living, adult day cares, and other service may also help you to regain that balance between care and life that you need to help your family out the most.
There are options out there for you. Give us a call if you’re not sure where to start. We offer a free consultation service that can help you get pointed in the right direction. Regardless of the stage that you are in, one of our skilled professionals can help you figure out what will work for your family and help plot out what your next actions should be to achieve that.