It’s not exactly breaking news that the holidays are stressful, and by the way, water is wet and ice cream is cold. In other unsurprising developments, you’re tired too, especially if you’re trying to deal with normal December stuff in Cedar Rapids and elsewhere, while also trying to be a caregiver for a loved one receiving home health care or hospice care.
Although you might be performing this valuable service out of love and support, perhaps returning the favor from a parent or a relative who did the same for you earlier in life, it’s OK to want or even need a break sometimes.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice understands. Even we, as professional caregivers with plenty of experience and training in working with clients, know that taking occasional breaks or pauses is important for our sake and for the sake of those we care for.
Even taking a few hours every so often to NOT provide caregiving services can be a wonderful treat, or perhaps a reward if you feel you’ve been working hard without any relief.
What can you do in a few hours that doesn’t have anything to do with helping out? How about getting your nails done or enjoying a massage? How about a movie? How about a walk or bike ride around the park? How about lunch or a coffee with a friend you haven’t visited in person for a while? Or, if you’ve been around people for too long, how about a nice lunch by yourself?
Making it happen
As great as all of that sounds, it’s easy to automatically default to “well, who will else will provide care if I’m out playing? That’s what I’m supposed to be doing.” Good question!
If you’re sharing caregiving duties with friends or family, it shouldn’t be hard to shift a schedule around so everyone can get a day away or even a few hours. Changing these schedules can help give everyone some alone time, and if done equitably it can be a good system.
But if you’re doing solo caregiving, this option may not be available. You can see if other friends can come by to help. A lot of this depends on how comfortable they are with the person you’re providing care for and what level of care they need.
Maybe the person will be fine for a few hours, and everyone can sit around, maybe have a meal or watch a movie. The fill-in caregiver will be there to call for help if needed.
But if they may need more advanced help that a “fill-in” visitor doesn’t know how to provide, such as first aid, that isn’t a great option. Or you might feel guilty or concerned while you’re out trying to enjoy yourself.
One option available through Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice is respite care. Essentially, this service allows you, the caregiver, to take some time for yourself. Your caregiving duties will be taken over by at least one member of our staff, depending on the level of care needed.
Perhaps an aide can offer basic help, but a nurse might be able to offer more advanced assistance if needed.
Respite care can be scheduled for a few hours or even all day. This could mean you can have an entire day to yourself, which could be a fun opportunity if you want to experience a variety of activities. This could be a good chance to do things that can keep you from checking the time and wondering how much time you have left.
Because of the benefit of providing you with a nice break, how about using the time to do things you haven’t been able to schedule the time to do during the week. How about Christmas shopping? How about grocery shopping? How about something fun like a sporting event?
Perhaps you might want to take things easy but not have to offer help or be interrupted. Sit at home and watch a movie or a favorite TV show or read a book.
If you live with the person you’re providing care for, it can be difficult to come and home and chill since you’ll be right back in the same spot and may not feel that anything has changed.
In this case, the respite could continue while you spend some quality time by yourself.
To learn more about our respite care offerings, please contact us. We’re happy to discuss the particulars of what kind of help you’ll need and for how long it can be provided.
Past clients who have used respite care have said that it made sure clients are comfortable. It helps people avoid burnout and frustration. Instead, they come back from respite care appointments with a whole lot of energy.