The responsibility of caregiving many times falls to an individual's adult children or other younger family members. While they are usually more than willing to help out and begin their caregiving journey with great intentions – it can often result in feeling overwhelmed or experiencing something called ‘caregiver burnout.'
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average caregiver is 49-years-old, holds a full-time job, and has children still living at home. Caregiving can require 24/7 assistance in some care situations, making it extremely difficult for someone to maintain a life outside of caregiving without becoming unhealthy or overwhelmed.
To help prevent caregiver burnout, it is important that healthy habits are established early on in the caregiving journey and that these habits are maintained as best as possible throughout the time given to assisting loved ones. One way to ensure that a family caregiver has time to rejuvenate themselves is to explore respite care options at a local senior living community, like Fieldstone Memory Care or Fieldstone Communities.
While the benefits of respite care for seniors is well-documented, there are several benefits for the caregivers, as well:
Renewal – Pursuing passions, participating in a favorite activity, or just relaxing can help a person feel well-rested and ready to face upcoming challenges. Taking time for oneself can help a person feel more balanced and healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Energy – Because caregiving is often 24 hours, seven days a week, many caregivers miss the necessary sleep to feel healthy and therefore experience a lack of stamina. Taking time away from the responsibilities of caregiving can restore energy levels and replenish vitality.
Space – From time to time, it’s helpful to step back from stressful situations to gain some perspective and clarity. Being so deeply ingrained in daily circumstances can cause a person to miss the forest for the trees. Space may give caregivers a better appreciation of the broader situation and the ability to make healthy decisions for both themselves and their family member.
Pleasure – Pure and simple, caregivers have a right to enjoy life outside of their responsibilities. This does not mean that they love their family member any less, or do not enjoy their time with them. We all occasionally need time to do exactly what they want whether that means reading a book, going on vacation, or attending an exercise class.
Identity – Because caregiving can be all-consuming, many caregivers feel they've lost their individuality and personality and experience an incredible sense of grief when their caregiving journey ends. To create healthy work-life balance, caregivers need to schedule time to address their personal needs and interests.
Engagement – It is well-documented that seniors are susceptible to social isolation, but so are their caregivers. It is crucial for caregivers to spend time engaging with friends and families to keep social ties healthy.
Fieldstone Communities wants to support family caregivers and be a resource to those who may be experiencing caregiver burnout. For more information on how respite care can benefit you or someone you know, please contact your closest Fieldstone community.