Our older generation is growing in number and getting older with each year. In 2019, there were 54.1 million people over the age of 65. Ten years earlier, in 2009, this number was 39.6 million. More importantly, more than 12 million people receive in-home care in the United States, and most of the in-home care is provided by family.
Having your loved ones remain home as they age is a hope for many, and it makes sense. At home is where they feel more comfortable, and you get the knowledge they are well cared for by loved ones. It isn’t easy, though. Most family caregivers are providing services above and beyond their skill set. Services that are typically performed by medical professionals.
Providing family care can lead to a variety of issues; lack of time for yourself, financial strain, emotional and physical stress, etc. Knowing where to turn when you need help is essential.
Spending all your time in a caregiver role, whether at work or with your loved one, and no time for yourself will zap your energy. This can lead to depression and resentment, stealing precious time you have left with your loved one. Yes, you’re spending more time with them, but it’s in a strained and anxious relationship. It’s not how they or you imagined the last of your years together.
When you find yourself in this role, it is vital to reach out for assistance. Some agencies can provide respite care. Contacting an agency such as this can give you the extra support you need, even if it’s only a couple of hours a week. If you’re unsure about bringing an outside agency in, perhaps you can look to community members. There may be members of your friend or church group who are willing to help. You can also look to nursing students for assistance.
It may feel like you’re failing if you ask for help. This is the furthest thing from the truth. It simply means you want to do better. You need to take care of yourself to care for others. You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you are tired and stressed, the care you provide can also be strained. Take some time to consider your options and reach out for help. Talk with friends who may be in the same situation to learn how they handled things.
Most of all, consider your loved one and you. You want your time together to be cherished, and the best way to control that is to admit when you need help.