RESPITE FOR SENIOR CARETAKERS

Jan 29th, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Care for Caretakers

If you are a caretaker, i.e. caring for an elderly member of your family in your own home or theirs, one of the issues to be seriously addressed is planning for periodic respite for the caretaker. Those who take on the responsibility of caretaking cannot, should not, sustain a 24/7 caretaking role without breaks.

If you are fortunate enough to have some assistance during the week for the person who is being cared for, that is a welcome relief.  The stress of regular caretaking is compounded by the demands and emotional energy required in caretaking. While caretakers are usually sensitive in their response to the variety of needs which emerge, the need for a day off or some time away is an essential part of a caretaking plan.

Having some skills for the caretaking role is both important and necessary.  Assuming caretaking to be a perfunctory role is to find oneself surprised by the variety of demands that occur. Needing and enabling some time off is neither an unfair expectation nor one that should be overlooked.

Respite Helps All Concerned

Some hospice programs allow for a break for the caretaker when the demands have become overwhelming, enabling a number of days off, while the care receiver is adequately and appropriately cared for.  Such occasions should be planned in a regular schedule, thus giving everyone involved a chance for a breather.

Being met with the same demands day after day means that some escape or variety will be healthy for caretaker and care receiver. Assuming that the load cannot be shared will not serve well the caretaking plan of anyone.  Finding ways to introduce some variety in the care receiver’s life and routine will offer a breath of fresh air by having the opportunity to be around other people, living in a different environment for a short period, being given the occasion to meet and interact with other people.

End of life care does not have to be a period of dread and despondency.  If the care receiver still has stamina and the ability to interact, opportunities should be found to capitalize on helping the receiver enjoy as much activity as possible.

Care receiving should be a period of pleasant and happy interaction among those who are involved in it.  Anything less means that everyone who is a part of this drama is being short changed and loses some of the occasions for good times, lasting memories and pleasant reinforcement.

 



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