Dallas Home Health Care Blog

Why Caregivers for the Elderly Need a Guilt-Free Break

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Senior caregivers are true angels in the elderly care industry. They are, however only human and need to take care of themselves as well. Too many caregivers beat themselves up about needing a break, and even more fail to take one when they should. Family members can help give caregivers a much-deserved respite, whether the caregiver is another family member or a professional who provides in-home care.

The biggest complaint caregivers have is that things seem to fall apart when they are not there to provide services. This can be avoided provided that two things happen before the break. First, the caregiver needs to leave an organized list of instructions and get other things ready ahead of time. Secondly, whoever steps in, needs to follow the instructions to the letter.

Next it is important to only contact the caregiver when absolutely necessary while they are on vacation or any other kind of short break. Constant contact with their patient’s family or other stand-in caregiver is like not having a break from the situation at all. They need this time away so they can come back refreshed and ready to take care of their patient again.

Caregivers need to stay healthy. If they become run down from being overworked without a break, then their immune system could become compromised. This leaves them at risk for catching a cold, or some other type of viral infection. If this happens, then they could unwillingly pass it on to their patient.

If you have the responsibility of taking care of an elderly family member, such as an aging parent or geriatric grandparent, then you know how much stress that can pile on your shoulders. This is especially true if, in addition to running errands and housekeeping, you are responsible for assisting with personal care services such as bathing, dispensing daily prescriptions, and toileting.

In-home caregivers can provide relief to the family responsible for caring for an elderly person, whether it is during a week-long vacation or a couple of days per week on a recurring basis. An in-home caregiver has the training and professionalism to take care of your family member so you can have a little time to relax.

Caregiving for the elderly comes with a lot of emotions, the primary one being guilt. It is easy to feel guilty for not being able to do everything, or for not being there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do not let anyone pile the guilt on when you recognize that you need a break in order to continue providing the best possible care. You are likely capable of piling on enough guilt over things both real and imagined without any help from others.