Caring for an elderly parent or family member is a noble task, but it’s also an exhausting one. Not only do caregivers have a job, family, or life of their own to dedicate time to, but they simply need a break once in a while. The job of a caregiver is both physically and emotionally taxing, and if no breaks are taken, the job can be even more of a challenge.
Like any other type of job, breaks are important. It’s why the average job allows for evenings, weekends, or certain days off. It’s why workers are legally allowed to take lunch breaks at work. Taking a breather on occasion is important for the mind, body, and soul.
But as a caregiver of the elderly, how can you break away from your tasks when your parent or family member needs constant attention and care? Without some help to back you up, stepping back from your duties seems impossible.
That’s exactly why respite care is available. Such care provides caregivers with the breaks they need. Having a competent individual step in to take over when you’re not on the scene can not only give you the rest you need, but it can give you some peace of mind knowing that your loved one is still receiving the care and attention required.
So, how can you take advantage of “time off” from caring for your loved one? Here are four respite ideas to recharge.
1. Stay Physically Active
Not only is physical activity good for the body, but it’s also healthy for the mind and soul too. Being active has long been shown to have positive effects on the mind and spirit, and the evidence continues to mount in support of this notion.
When you’re given some time to yourself, stay active. Join a gym, participate in a sport that you enjoy, join a walking group, or take part in an exercise class. It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s keeping your body moving and is something that you enjoy.
Exercising will not only keep you fit for your own benefit, but it will also help you feel stronger when you’re caring for your loved one.
2. Deal With Stress Head-on
Being a caregiver is understandably stressful, especially when the patient you’re caring for is someone close to you. The job itself can be emotionally stressful, but seeing your loved one deteriorating with age can be tough to watch.
Given the level of stress that comes with this job, it’s imperative that you take steps to make sure that you’re mentally and emotionally strong enough. Not only does the patient depend on you, but you need to depend on yourself to keep your spirit healthy and strong. If you’re ever dealing with any stress, it’s important to address these issues right away.
Stress is a silent killer and can rob you of your joy. It can also cause a myriad of health issues, which is the last thing you need when other people are depending on you.
Make sure to seek counseling if necessary. Counseling sessions can do wonders to help you properly and effectively manage your stress so you can stay healthy for yourself and your loved one.
3. Take a Quick Vacation
Sometimes it’s not enough to just step away from your job. Sometimes you need a completely different change of scenery. When you’ve got a little time off – even if it’s only a couple of days – consider getting out of town.
Whether you hop aboard a plane to some far-off destination or simply take a road trip to a nearby vacation spot, a change of scenery can do wonders for your emotional state. And when you return, you’ll feel renewed and refreshed, ready to resume your duties.
4. Join a Caregiver Support Group
There are tens of thousands of people just like you who are put in a position to care for an elderly loved one. Oftentimes talking to others who are in the same situation can be very therapeutic. These other people know exactly what you’re going through, so you won’t feel like you’re not understood.
Instead, you’ll get support from others in similar situations and may even develop new friendships as a result of your participation in the group. You can meet online, in person, or even organize a fun activity together on occasion.
Get the Support You Need
As a caregiver, you’ve got your hands full. But knowing that you have options to help you out in the form of respite care can give you the break that you definitely need. Take advantage of these services and don’t be afraid to admit that you need help once in a while – everybody does.