Few people ever plan on being a family caregiver. This is usually something that happens during the natural course of time. They may live close to their aging mother or father, possibly both parents if they’re still together, and that first call for help seemed to be no big deal. They stopped by, assisted how they could, and headed off to work or back home.Caregiver in Fairfax VA: Accepting Outside Assistance
Over time, though, things often change.
There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens when people who have difficulty asking others (including adult children, a sibling, or spouse) for help; once they get past that first request, it becomes easier and easier to ask again and again.
Given enough time, that family member suddenly finds herself or himself stopping by on a regular basis. At that point in time, he or she is basically a family caregiver.
Life as a family caregiver is stressful.
It could certainly be something that happened instantly, such as following a heart attack or stroke when that aging senior needed a great deal of physical and emotional support for the first weeks and months after their discharge. It could also happen gradually over time.
No matter how quickly or slowly it comes on, when a person is working as a family caregiver, whether they have a full-time job or other responsibilities or not, they will likely begin feeling the impact of stress. Stress is going to make it more difficult to sleep at night. It’s going to affect relationships. The more time that family member devotes to the senior, the less time he or she has for friends, hobbies, exercise, and possibly even eating healthy.
What other choice does the family caregiver have?
This is a common refrain heard among the estimated 44 million family caregivers working in the United States right now (Forbes). When people don’t think there’s a reasonable solution or alternative, they just don’t look for one.
In truth, there are alternatives that are not only reasonable, but beneficial.
The key option that any family caregiver should consider when feeling overwhelmed with stress is home care support. A professional and dedicated home care aide who is working for an agency can provide flexibility, offer services for as little as a couple of hours one or two days a week to start, and be an extra emotional and physical support system for not just the senior, but that family caregiver.
It’s easy to dismiss the value in home care when family is there, but usually it falls onto the shoulders of one individual and that can exacerbate the stress caused in these types of scenarios.