The importance of providing respite for family caregivers

Caring for someone in your family can be both rewarding and challenging. Your emotions can alternate daily from love and fulfilment being connected deeply your loved one, to stress and frustration, which can bring about guilt and sadness. On top of all that, you have your own self to look after, but often the case there simply is not any time, or you completely forget about self care. For some people, as the pressure of caregiving builds, burn out can happen as their mental well-being deteriorates.

Below we look at some more of the main difficulties that family caregivers can face…

Having to juggle multiple roles:

Many people providing care for their family members will often find it difficult to balance their care responsibilities with aspects of their own lives e.g. work, other commitments, and personal pursuits. It can be difficult getting the balance right at times, and an overwhelming juggling act that leaves you stretched thin.

Commitment to their duties:

Many family caregivers find a sense of purpose and feel fulfilled in helping their loved ones. Seeing their loved ones happy, cared for and comfortable in their own home can be incredibly satisfying. However, at times this commitment can result in a terrible feeling of guilt and betrayal if the carer finds they need some time out from their duties.

Possible physical and mental demands:

Where loved ones have limited mobility, carers will need to help them out in their daily activities, which can be physically challenging. Simple activities such as getting a loved one out of bed or helping them bathe and dress can put significant physical strains on a carer. In situations where loved ones do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, caregivers may experience mental exhaustion from being constantly vigilant and having to make those decisions.

Being financially strained:

Being a family caregiver may mean giving up work, or reducing hours, which can immediately put a strain on finances. The caregiver may also find they are now paying out extra to undertake their care duties, such as buying medicines and medical supplies, paying their loved one’s regular home expenses etc. This burden can also be on top of paying for their own expenses.

Feeling isolated and lonely:

For many, caring for a loved one can be a solitary experience, especially if there is no other support network. The burden of caregiving lies squarely on their shoulders, and they may feel it impossible to leave their loved one alone for any extended period. Over time this can lead to a sense of isolation and feeling lonely, which can affect mental well-being and lead to burn-out.

The importance of taking time out:

To help avoid all the above-mentioned pitfalls, it is essential for family caregivers to take time out for much needed self-care. This means taking planned breaks away from their loved ones and taking time to engage in activities they enjoy. Family caregivers have to make sure that their own physical and emotional needs are looked after, as this will help maintain a healthy mental well-being. Having both a healthy mind and body will only assist family caregivers be more resilient in the care that they provide to their loved one.

Where possible, family caregivers should actively seek out support from other family members and friends, even the various support groups out there that can provide advice and resources. Another avenue to explore are the services offered by home care companies. These companies specialize in proving trained and experienced carers to clients in their own homes. Carers can assist clients with numerous daily activities including maintaining personal hygiene and grooming, light housework duties and meal preparation. Carers can also accompany clients on trips outside the home and provide companionship too.

Selectacare is one of the region’s most established home care companies, having provided home care services for over 40 years. Get in contact with us today to discuss how we can help you