Caregiving: How to Make the Most of Your Holidays

Guest Post from Amy Walter, LMSW with Senior Helpers

The lights are twinkling, carolers are singing, cookies are baking, company is coming in town and Mom is…

“Wait, Where is mom? Is she ok? Did I remember to give her her Aricept yesterday? What about the Metropolol? At least I didn’t forget the doctors appointment this Friday. Oh wait, was that last Friday? Geez, I just wish the holidays were over so I wouldn’t have so much on my plate.”

To those of you who are caregivers, let me just take a minute to recognize all that you do. You go 90 miles an hour barely sleeping at night,stressed about the next day and guilt yourself over past events and future events. You’re doing the best you can and yet somehow your best isn’t always good enough, am I right?

As a Social Worker who works with Aging Adults and their families I have had the privilege of walking alongside people in their darkest days. The days where you feel like you might as well have a newborn keeping you up all night because you were actually up all night tending to personal care needs of a loved one. You may be a long distance caregiver worrying about mom or Dad and your trying to figure out how you’re going to solve all their problems the week of Christmas when you’re in town next.

Caregiver Burnout IS REAL!

Did you know?

  • Family Caregivers provided 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care to loved ones with Dementia diagnosis in 2014.
  • 74% of caregivers still work
  • 70% of caregivers say caregiving has
    interfered with their job
  • Higher utilization of healthcare benefits for :Migraines, GI disorders, Depression

So how do you know if you actually are suffering from caregiver burnout?

  • Are you irritable?
  • Are you finding it hard to sleep?
  • Are you highly stressed?
  • Do you feel trapped?
  • Do you overreact to criticism?
  • Have you laughed lately?
  • Do you secretly wish to have this whole thing over with?,
  • Do you find yourself calling out of work, not being productive at work due to caregiving responsibilities
  • Can you not remember the last time you did something for yourself?
  • IF THIS IS YOU, YOU NEED RESPITE OR MORE!

If I have learned anything from the field of Senior Care it is that no one can do this job alone. We must rely on each other. I work for Senior Helpers; a local and national company that offers professional caregiving services that are just the answer families’ need! Help is only 1 phone call away. At Senior Helpers we always listen to your story without making judgements. There is no right or wrong answer, we seek to understand your situation fully and then incorporate the right services for your family. Also, needs can change quickly, we understand! Caregivers have to be flexible and go with the flow and so do we.

 

So, how do you survive the holidays and come up with a lasting plan?

1). Know who to call– That could be another family member or friend in town that wants to help and just doesn’t know how- Put their good intentions into action and let them know mom needs supervision for safety now( ex.and mornings between 9-noon would be perfect for them so be with her.)

2.) If you don’t have family or friends willing or able to help or just need more help than is offered, call a professional.

3.) If you do not work currently and are the primary caregiver…

 

Please Read the Following:

Respite is like an oxygen mask for primary caregivers. When the flight attendant on a plane tells you to first put on your oxygen mask and then assist those around you, there is a reason for this! If you are on floor yourself, you will be unable to help those around you. Same goes with caregiving. Taking care of yourself is NOT a reward, it is NOT a luxury, it is NOT optional, It is a NECESSITY! By taking care of yourself you will be a better caregiver all around.

Senior Helpers is available 24/7,7 days a week. 615-591-7007.

FREE ASSESSMENT, NO OBLIGATION, YOU SET YOUR SCHEDULE.

OTHER RESOURCES INCLUDE: “Aging and Caring” by The Council on Aging

 

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