Even Family Caregivers Need Time Off

As swarms of people from other states descend on Florida for fun in the sun, many Floridians are in desperate need of a vacation, themselves. The beauty of palm trees and the ocean are barely noticed by those caring for family members alone, without respite. With little hope of even a moment alone, caregivers are being overcome by the stress. Respite for a few days, a few hours, or even a few minutes can do wonders for the well-being for the caregiver and must be made a priority.

Statistics tell us that over one-third of the caregivers will die before the person they are caring for due to physical and emotional stress. Three quarters of homebound caregivers do not receive consistent help form family members.

Forty-three percent of family members caring for Alzheimer’s patients fall into clinical depression that can linger for years. But there is hope! The heavy burden of caring can be lightened. Alzheimer’s day centers provide regular respite for the caregivers as well as stimulation for patients with Alzheimer’s or a related disorder. Home health agencies and nurse registries provide qualified, professional caregivers, in the home, for a few hours a week to 24 hours per day.

There are those families who don’t have the financial resources to pay for much, if any, care. It’s important to remember any assistance and/or time away will improve well-being and assistance programs are available to many.  Local Alzheimer’s day centers will help complete applications that assist with the cost of attending a center. Veterans and their spouses are eligible for assistance with the cost of home health care. Various volunteer organizations provide assistance , as well. It’s worth checking into!

For those of you who have friends who are caregivers and wonder what you could do that would actually be helpful, I suggest you do whatever is within your abilities to give your friend time away from his/her responsibilities, whether by stepping in yourself, or arranging for your entire group of friends, church membership, club, etc. to pitch in for a professional caregiver while your friend vacations. I met a woman whose family collected money for her to go on a cruise and a man whose church sent him to see his brothers and sisters. Now, that’s helpful!

I meet many other caregivers who have sufficient financial resources to hire help, but feel no one will care for their family members as they can. To the contrary, I’ve found that patients receive the highest quality care when they have an aide in the home rather than receiving all their care from a family member. When a competent professional is responsible for duties such as bathing, dressing, transfers, ambulation assistance, cooking, light housekeeping, etc., the previously exhausted family member has the energy to give those loving touches that were missing when he/she did all the work. Champion provides hourly and live-in caregivers to help on an ongoing basis or while you take that much-needed vacation.

Please call if you wish to discuss any of the services or assistance programs mentioned above.

Champion Home Health Care has live-in aides and aides who will work extended shifts so your loved ones are looked after at all times, regardless of where they live. In addition, to providing assistance and cues for activities of daily living, they provide meals, housekeeping, companionship and transportation, to social functions, outings, shopping, and appointments.

Written by: Renee Risnear – Champion Home Health Care