It can be a great honor to serve as a family caregiver for an aging loved one who may have helped to raise you. And while caregiving is an honor, it can be hard to admit when you face challenges. At Senior Home Companions, we recognize the most common challenges faced by family caregivers, and we seek to offer assistance to both you and your aging loved one. Our trained caregivers can provide respite care, companionship and time for you to practice self-care so that you can, in turn, care for others.
When you take on the care of a loved one who is aging, time management can be one of the biggest challenges. For example, midlife caregivers, also known as the “sandwich generation,” may be caring for aging parents (either from afar or by living together) in addition to parenting children who are still living at home. You may feel stretched thin by the short 24 hours in each day, but take heart in knowing that this is one of the most common challenges faced by family caregivers.
If you need a little extra help managing your time, a companion caregiver can provide in-home services for older adults starting at just a few hours a week. Senior Home Companions can help your aging parent remain independent at their home or yours, offering not just companionship but medication reminders, meal preparation and more.
Another common challenge faced by family caregivers is social isolation. Living through the pandemic, now more than ever, it is easy to become isolated from others outside of your immediate family. Coupled with the stress of time management, it can be hard to find a moment for the things you enjoyed before becoming a caregiver. Especially if your aging loved one is living with you, you may also be experiencing a lack of private time or a place to relax and recharge.
If you have been feeling isolated by your constant caregiving duties, try to work with others to find time for your favorite hobbies or a date with your partner or friends. You may be able to ask another family member to spend time with your aging loved one, or you can reach out for respite care from Senior Home Companions. You may also benefit from a support group for family caregivers. This could be online or in person, and will allow you to discuss your emotions and reduce isolation with others in a similar situation.
One of the results of isolation is often caregiver burnout. When a family caregiver experiences burnout, they begin to focus all of their energy on the person they care for and none on themselves. Feelings of burnout can manifest in poor physical health, mental health, depression and other serious concerns. According to Caregiver.org, 11% of caregivers report that “caregiving has caused their physical health to get worse” and an estimated 40 to 70% of caregivers experience symptoms that correlate with clinically significant depression. If you are a family caregiver in need of help, try to identify sources of support before you get to the burnout stage.
Many family caregivers experience a lack of support — but it doesn’t have to be this way. Try communicating with family members to find more caregiving options for your aging loved one. Our Family Matters program is a great way to facilitate discussions that lead to fruitful plans for older adults. If you don’t have a big family or they are unable to help at this time, there are a number of other available resources out there for seniors, it’s often just a matter of identifying them!
On the Senior Home Companions website, we have compiled a list of national organizations that support seniors and caregivers, as well as local options for those who live in Indiana or Florida. Finding resources like financial aid, community activities or transportation options for someone in your care can make a huge difference in solving the most common challenges faced by family caregivers.
If you are a family caregiver interested in respite care or in-home services provided by Senior Home Companions, we would love to discuss them with you in a complimentary consultation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you and help prevent family caregiver burnout!