(picture froma Place for Mom website)
With summer coming fast and schools closing for a break, families are thinking about vacations. Many families can just leave when they have their vacation weeks and not think too much of it. Now there are many families that have someone who is a caregiver, usually for an elderly parent, and they cannot leave as easily as they could before. Sometimes the parent(s) can still travel so that can be both a blessing and a daunting thought since now the caregiver has to pack and plan for an extra person who may have medical needs and may not move as fast as the rest of the family. Mom traveled with us when she was slowing down and we just had to plan differently -- like how many more bathroom stops will it take us and how much longer the trip will be, making sure she had all her medication, taking doctor phone numbers, etc. Frank is hoping to take his parents to a family wedding out-of-state soon; he now has to plan for extra luggage, stops, possibly a type of handicapped lodging, handling medications, doctor information, etc.
"A Place for Mom" states that:
According to the Center for Disease Control caregivers often pay a high toll for their labor of love:
35% of caregivers have difficulty finding time for themselves.
29% experience emotional and physical stress from their role.
54% said their health has gotten worse due to caregiving, and has affected their ability to give care.
29% have difficulty balancing work and family responsibilities
Studies from the National Alliance of Caregiving and AARP show that a lot of caregivers do not want to say they need a break, only 12% of caregivers take advantage of this. California State University San Bernardino designed a questionnaire to see if someone needs a break.
Sometimes assisted living communities offer respite care - both long term (vacations) or short term (enough time to run errands). Not only is this good for a change but now you have the opportunity to check out communities should your loved one need to move into a more secure location. The National Respite Network suggests that caregivers take this service earlier than later, that it is best to take advantage of this before becoming overly stressed or tired. "Respite will be most helpful if you use it before you become exhausted, isolated or overwhelmed by your responsibilities.” You can also use respite if the main caregiver falls ill, business travel comes up or some weather type of factor.
Communities already offering respite care say that they try to make it easy for someone to sign up and take advantage of the service - usually short forms or a package that is easily filled out.
Of course, you can always contact "A Place for Mom", "A Place for Dad" (the same as mom) for help.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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