It certainly is not easy to be the primary caregiver for a family member. You may want to do it all by yourself so not to burden anyone. You may think you can just push on through until help comes along. However, it will quickly take its toll on you.
Some caregivers find themselves neglecting their health, their families, and their work duties. You will become fatigued and easily agitated. The mental anguish that comes with caregiving can be overbearing. You can’t take proper care of anyone if you’re not taking proper care of yourself and disgruntled all the time. Check out these three ways to arrange a break from caregiving using only the help of family and friends.
Talk to Your Loved One Ahead of Time
Decide if you need a daily break of a few hours, a full day, or even an entire weeks’ vacation from caregiving. Once you’ve made that decision, it’s time to talk to your loved one about it to prepare them for the next steps.
If you’re caring for an elderly parent, aunt or uncle, or grandparent, you must think how things will look from their perspective. They are possibly proud and already feel you are doing too much for them. Be cautious in explaining your need to bring in additional help. You don’t want to come across to them as though they’ve burdened you.
If you’ll be away for a while, tell them you need time to clear your head from work, friends, and the kids. Explain how much you want to visit an old high school buddy and excited about your trip. This will help them understand your need for a break.
Go over some options of care, especially if family members are going to step up and help. You want them to be comfortable while you are gone; that will make it easy for a new caregiver to assume their role.
Anyone Can Pitch In, No Matter Where They Live
It doesn’t matter who you enlist the help of. A family member in a different time zone can relieve a bit of pressure off you right where they are. The internet is booming with online businesses offering services that can help relieve your everyday duties. Even if the family member can’t help offset the costs, they can do the research and arrange for services. For those family members far away, here are a few suggestions of what would be best-arranged for them to do and how you can get this accomplished.
Setting up appointments – Your family member can arrange for your loved ones medical appointments. They can schedule doctor’s visits, blood draws, rehabilitation services, and dental appointments. Depending upon the provider, they may not need to pick up the phone. For instance, many vision care centers allow you to set up an appointment online, or right through your phone’s mobile browser.
Paying bills – These days, it’s hard to find any creditor that does not have an online bill payment system in place. If they don’t, most bank accounts have online bill pay linked to a checking account option. Some payments are received in as little as one business day.
Grocery shopping– Another major time-consuming activity is going grocery shopping. This errand seems like something that will take an hour on paper. You may even welcome that free time away from the house. However, when you factor in traffic, finding just the right brands for picky eaters, standing through long lines, and then traffic again getting home, you just lost precious hours you could have been relaxing.
Instead, have a family member do the shopping online for you. Then, if you still want a quick escape from caregiving, you can pick the items up from the store, already bagged for you.
Keeping family and friends updated – It’s a challenge taking care of your loved one, your family, and yourself. At the end of the day, you may barely have 15 minutes to yourself. So if your loved one were to get sick, imagine how many phone calls would come through, directly to your phone.
One person can be the go-to person who everyone will call and give you a break. They would also be responsible for sending updated information regarding their health status. This can be done via phone, text messaging, emails, and Facebook notifications.
Coordinating all these is as easy as using Google. There can be one main email address that all family members log in to see important notifications. Use this in conjunction with Google calendar to set appointments and alert of important reminders. Everything can be placed in the calendar such as a plumber’s visit, children needing to be picked up on the weekend, or reminder that a private duty nurse is coming through for a checkup.
Reach Out to Their Organizational Family
Do not forget to reach out to any organization family members they may have. Throughout their life, your loved one may have a Church family, belong to a volunteer organization, sorority, or fraternity. These are the very same people who are more than willing to step in and visit or help out when they can.
These organizations value taking care of their own. You can be sure that the younger generation is continuing this legacy. Even if it’s just coming over and sitting with them, this gives you a bit of free time to give yourself a short spa day or lunch with a friend.
There are a variety of options for you to get help from family and friends and relive your caregiving duties. Even small things such as someone making a phone call for you can make a big difference in your day.