December 15, 2011
Family caregivers should look for a regular break from assisting their senior loved ones so they’re not neglecting their own health. Build a network of resources such as family, friends and professional caregiving services like Home Instead Senior Care®, whose CAREGiversSM are equipped to step in and lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed.
Q. My 83-year-old husband can no longer get out of the house much because of health problems. As a result, I’m at home more, too. I’m younger than my husband, strong and still in good health. How can I continue to maintain friendships and hobbies and not neglect him?
You’ve identified an important aspect of family caregiving that is easy to overlook. Many family caregivers suffer from poor health because they neglect their health and needs. If you’re going to be healthy and a support for your husband, continuing with your favorite pastimes will be a crucial part of your routine.
Set aside a little time each day to talk with friends. Even if you can’t go out, call them on the telephone to chat, if just for a few minutes.
Likewise, carve out a niche for a favorite pastime. If you can’t do that every day, be sure you make time at least once a week for a hobby, whether it’s gardening, reading, knitting or quilting. How about establishing a weekly movie night with a friend? If you can’t go out every week, host the movie at your house.
What family caregivers often need most is help. According to a Harris Interactive survey conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, 31 percent of family caregivers admitted they would like more help with caregiving. Are there other family members who can step in and share the load? Is there a day-care center where your husband could go for part of each day?
Call your Area Agency on Aging or a hospital to find out if there are other respite programs available in your community. Or contact Home Instead Senior Care to hire a CAREGiversSM. For just a few hours a week, and up to 24 hours a day, a CAREGiver could come to your home and stay with your husband while you get away to shop, relax, lunch with friends or pursue your favorite hobby. CAREGivers are screened, bonded and insured, and trained to work with seniors in a variety of settings.
With just a little help, you could stay revived and rejuvenated enough to continue to be the kind of dedicated family caregiver you want to be for your husband.
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