Respite Care – A Must If You Care For a Family Member

Society is focused on the young – just look at the commercials on television! That being said, a majority of our society is aging and caring for an elder parent or family member has become a huge issue for many families.

In a perfect world, parents take care of themselves as the age. Alas, the body and brain rarely cooperate with this notion – things simply wear down with time and care is needed. Recognizing this, many people plan for retirement by stuffing money away in 401ks and the like. They then have funds to move into assisted living communities or nursing homes if they condition requires as much. With the recent economic collapse, this group has grown smaller as retirement accounts have lost huge percentages of their values.

Ultimately, the senior care scenario we are seeing today is family oriented. Mom and/or dad move in with one of the kids. This enables them to receive assistance with their daily tasks and not spend money they don’t have. In this article, however, we address not the senior parent, but the kids who take mom or dad in. They face significant risks.

The primary problem is mental. A senior parent who just needs a meal is usually not too big of a burden, but what about one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s? As time passes, they will only get worse and that means more care and more time spent addressing their problems. This can lead to a severe burden on you if you are caring for them.

A burden is a burden as the saying goes. In this case, it can quickly compound in intensity. You’ll have feelings of anger over having to care for your parent and then guilt for having those feelings of anger. This ultimately can lead to depression and, well, a stew of mental aggravations.

If you are caring for a senior parent with a lot of needs, you need to take breaks. One way to do it is through respite care. Respite care involves a person coming out and spending time with the senior in question. It is not so much care as it is the opportunity to socialize with someone. At the same time, it provides you and your family with some time to yourself. Even a few hours of time can make a world of difference in your stress and frustration levels.

When caring for a senior family member, it can be easy to lose yourself in their needs. Don’t! You have your own needs and a little “me” time certainly qualifies as a necessary need. Give it a try.

Ida E. Glass

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