We all need our friends. Not just in the good times, but also in the stressful times. They are our outlet. They give us a fresh perspective on life. Our visits help us to focus on someone and something else than our own little corner of the world. We can share our woes, whine a little and have a laugh. Good friends refresh our minds and our hearts. We need that when we're caring for an older loved one.
Caregivers Should Take Breaks To Avoid Caregiving Burnout
Caregivers are notorious for trying to do everything on their own. They're just as notorious for burn out, sickness and depression. So, if you think you're doing your loved one a favor by being a martyr and neglecting your own social life . . . think again. You can find the time to socialize with just a little forethought.
Planning is the key to getting time off and connecting with the people who know you best. Start with family. Once a week you should be having at least an afternoon away from care giving. Do not apologize for needing the time away. Let them know that their older loved one would love a visit from them. Don't forget about the teenagers in the family. They make great companions and helpers. Your loved one will so enjoy their visits. Young people are good tonics for older folks.
Socializing and Caregiving
If family members are not close enough to help, then you might consider an Adult Day Care program. Many senior centers offer care during the day and have great activities for their clients to enjoy. Some will even offer transportation. Your loved one will be well-fed, and get to interact with their peers.
Neighbors and friends of your loved one could also be a great resource for you. Make a list of these special people and their contact numbers. You might be surprised by their willingness to help. Church members are often more than willing to spend time with the elderly. Remember that your loved one will benefit from the various people who come, as much as you will enjoy getting away.
When time is really tight, and you don't have someone to relieve you, think about inviting friends over to where you're caring for your loved one. If your loved one has a regular rest time during the day, this might be the best time to invite a friend over. Put on a pot of coffee, or make some tea and just enjoy a little change in your regular routine. It will lift your spirits and your perspective.
Respite Care Options
Respite Care is another resource that you should consider. Do your best to get away for one weekend a month. Many assisted living communities offer respite care and pamper their guests with good food and fun things to do.
In-home care providers are another good way to get some help and some time off. Think of it as your "back-up plan." Once your loved one becomes familiar with a good in-home care-giver, you'll feel better knowing if you get sick, or have to be away, that there is help available.
Involving others in the care of your loved one has numerous benefits for you and for them. Each person in our lives offers us a unique perspective. Studies have found that the more people we talk and interact with, the better our brains work. So, get out and have a little fun. You deserve it!
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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents. She also wrtites articles for SeniorCareHomes.com, a comprehensive Assisted Living online directory, trusted by seniors and families. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides free placement services to help Seniors and their families find assisted living based on the senior's care needs, family's budget and location.
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