By: Miles Hartley
Over the past year, we’ve seen how COVID-19 has put a lot of stress on caregivers, as well as their own families. When the lockdown occurred, many social activities went out the window too. Everything from the family vacation you were looking forward to all year, to even basic things like school and work, went out the window.
As time has progressed however, things are beginning to open up. Kids are going back to school, offices are reopening, and that family vacation is tantalizingly close once again.
Although this may seem unrelated to caregiving at first, if you have been taking care of a family member during this time, it’s likely that you’re feeling caregiving fatigue. Caregiving is difficult on its own, even during normal times, but as opportunities to do enjoyable activities are available once again, it may be frustrating to know that you can’t because you need to stay home with family.
It’s understandable to feel frustrated when everyone else is allowed to enjoy the benefits of eased lockdowns, and you can’t because you are a family caregiver. This is a very normal feeling, and so are the feelings of guilt attached to it.
Rather than feel resentful that you could go on vacation if you didn’t have caregiving responsibilities, it’s important to address this head on. The first step is to recognize that you have these feelings, and the second is doing something about it.
Respite care can help with this. Respite care allows you to take a break, step out of the house, and do important things while knowing your loved ones are safe. This benefits everyone in the family. Your loved one will have greater freedom and a feeling of autonomy when they no longer depend on you for help, and you will have greater freedom to get the things you want or need done.
Avoiding caregiver burnout
It’s easy to blame the pandemic on your feelings of getting burned out, but the truth is it likely would have happened even in the best of times. Caregiving requires a huge amount of commitment, and even the kindest and most dedicated person will likely feel burned out after long months or years without a single break.
It can also lead to compassion fatigue, where the mental stress of simply caring about others can lead to stress and burn out.
Although it’s easy to dismiss how great a burden caring for others can be, it can be a monumental task. It’s best to recognize it for what it is, and strategize ways to relieve the burden, than to grow resentful over time due to the stress.
How hiring respite care helps
If you’ve been eyeballing that vacation for months now, a respite care worker can help make that happen. You can hire a caregiver for the time you are gone, so you can leave without any stress or concern about how your loved one is while you are gone.
This can also help relieve the burden over time as well. Imagine being able to go to your own doctor appointments without wondering what to do with your loved one while you are away, not having to make a big production of organizing other siblings just to go to your son’s baseball game, or simply having a night off in peace.
This is what hiring a respite worker is for, and as COVID-19 releases its hold on the world, respite care becomes more important than ever.
For more information, contact the compassionate caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers of Overland Park.