Many caregivers become overburdened and suffer compromised health and burnout when they continuously put the needs of their loved ones above their own. If this sounds like you, consider one of these free and paid services that can give you a short or long-term break.
1. Elderly Classes
Many community and fitness centers offer classes specifically for elderly adults. These classes might include art, technology, or exercise. Beyond giving caregivers a few hours each day to either take a break or handle other obligations, there are substantial benefits for elderly adults. Art and technology classes are an excellent way to keep older adults cognitively engaged, especially those that may be showing early signs of dementia or other related impairments.
Art classes can promote eye-hand coordination and allow adults to express their creativity. The benefits of technology courses should not be overlooked, especially in older adults. Some older adults may be apprehensive about technology and are uncomfortable asking for help. Technology classes will give them a platform where they can feel comfortable using new electronics and programs and not feel embarrassed if they have questions.
Exercise classes can provide both cognitive and physical benefits. Depending on the current mobility and fitness level of your loved one, they may participate in chair aerobics or even beginning yoga. Exercise can improve mood since depression can be common with older adults. Almost any class will benefit older adults who may be lonely since they can have at least a few hours each week to connect with others.
2. In-Home Care Services
In-home care for elderly adults can offer a wide range of services to meet almost any need. Some older adults may benefit from these services if they have functional limitations that can make activities of daily living (ADL) difficult or impossible. Even when an older adult is not facing significant physical limitations, there can be other needs that would benefit from in-home care. Although your loved one may be comfortable performing ADLs, they may face difficulties while cooking or doing laundry if standing for long periods or reaching overhead is difficult.
While some adults need help shopping, having someone else do their shopping can be counterproductive because this may be their only opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. In-home care providers can serve as a personal assistant by driving your loved one to various stores (at least weekly) and assisting them while they pick out items they want. Some in-home care services also act as a source of company for an elderly client so they can have someone to talk to or just sit with them for a few hours each day.
3. Respite Care
Although respite care can be arranged for short amounts of time, it is also ideal when you need longer breaks. You may only think of respite care as sending your loved one to a center, but you can also have care provided in your home. Whenever possible, caregivers should arrange respite care at regular intervals to preserve their energy and prevent burnout. Since caregivers generally have to pay out-of-pocket for these services, you may need to be strategic about when you use them. For example, if in-home care services are provided during the week, you might schedule respite care for the weekend and rest from Friday to Monday.
Respite care is also a good service to use if your loved one temporarily needs more care than you can provide. This can happen if you are a regular caregiver for basic tasks but your loved one is planning to have surgery. Once they are discharged from the hospital, they may need more help with ADLs and have additional medical needs that are beyond your current abilities.
The demands of being a caregiver can take a physical and emotional toll on your well-being. Fortunately, there are resources available to meet the needs of your loved one while giving yourself a much-needed break. Learn more by contacting elder care services.