The Best - and Worst - Ways Caregivers Can Take Care of Themselves

Caring for an elder takes time, patience, and a lot of energy. While people want to do best by their loved ones, it’s essential that there is also a support system in place for those doing the caring. The majority of caregivers have their own lives, families, worries, and jobs. Trying to do it all yourself will only lead to burn out, and compromise your ability to provide good care. The benefits of creating a support network are numerous, and not only is it good for the caregiver, but for those ailing as well.

Support Networks for Elderly Caregivers

Most communities have a wide variety of support programs in place to assist caregivers. In addition to friends, family members, and community groups, it can give immeasurable amounts of relief to those taking on the primary job. Some places to find support include:

  • Local hospitals and senior service organizations: Many communities have programs that provide meals, rides to appointments or shopping, and additional caregiver services.
  • Health care: Check coverage to find out if the person you care for is qualified for any additional assistance, like in-home nursing, occupational or physical therapy, or a social worker.
  • Community groups: Many churches, due-paying community groups, and other non-profits have assistance programs in place. These services can range from phone check-ins to home visits and transportation.
  • Personal services: Hired aides will come into the home to assist with basic daily living tasks. Consider finding help with cleaning, bathing, feeding, and laundry.
  • Adult daycare: Retirement communities and senior programs often have adult day programs. These centers can give you a much-needed break while offering enrichment activities and social opportunities.
  • Friends and family: Make a list of weekly caregiving needs you fulfill. Pull trusted friends and family members aside and ask if they’re willing to help. If they are, find tasks that they are both comfortable with and good at. Don’t hesitate to call on others if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Most organizations that involve working with the elderly population are more than happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction. Get to know what’s available in your community by making some calls.

Helping Grandmother Walk

6 Benefits of Having an Elderly Caregiver Support Network

The ability to do your best: Caring for the elderly can get overwhelming and exhausting. By calling on your support network, you’ll be able to rejuvenate and de-stress, and continue to give the best care possible.

A more organized approach: By creating a support network, you’ve already started to identify the needs of your elderly loved one. It gives you the fuel to organize care, put consistent weekly routines in place, and make things work more functionally. This takes a lot of excess time and energy out of the process.

Financial relief: Many people overlook free or reduced-cost services in the community. They also don’t look at medical coverage thoroughly enough. If you’re paying for everything out of pocket, a support network can give some much-needed financial relief.

Emotional support: Handling issues solo encourage feelings of isolation and loneliness. Having others to simply talk to can boost your own morale and overall well-being, and help you feel validated for all that you do.

Enrichment: You are not the only one who will benefit from a support network. The elderly thrive with additional social interaction, contact with a variety of people and personalities, and programs that boost their physical, mental, and social health.

Personal time: Everyone needs time to do the things they love. Enlisting the help of your support network lets you engage with your family and hobbies, and relax.