How Will I Be Involved In Hospice
For My Loved One?
As you may have experienced, caring for a family member or friend is not easy, nor is it something most of us are prepared to do. Like most people, you have probably had questions about your family member or friend’s illness or condition, and have spent time finding answers to those questions. Now that you have learned about the basics of care-giving, and better understand how to provide care, there may still be times when you feel overwhelmed or unable to care for your family member’s or friend’s needs. This information will give you education and practical tips for managing the stress of being a caregiver by attending to your personal needs. Though they may seem selfish, these ideas will help you continue to provide care for as long as your family member or friend requires it.
Caregivers of the chronically ill, elderly, or those with disabilities are generous, and compassionate individuals. They care for family members or friends in the familiar surroundings of their own home or community. These caregivers are “on call” 24-hours a day, 7 days a week because they want to see their family member or friends remain in the comfort and security of their own environment. At some point, even the caregiver needs a break from providing care to their loved ones. Hospice makes respite services available allowing the caregivers to have time for self healing/recuperation.
As caregivers, we sometimes become so involved in the day-to-day efforts to keep things going that we may forget to let others know we need additional assistance with providing care, or just need a break from the routine of caring for someone.
Some ways to make your needs known include:
Work Options. If you are a working caregiver, it is important to discuss your needs with your employer. Telecommuting, flextime, job sharing or rearranging your schedule can help to minimize stress. Increasingly, companies are offering resource materials, counseling, and training programs to help caregivers.
Involve Older Children. Older children living at home may be able to assist you and/or your older family member. Such responsibility, provided it is not overly burdensome, can help young people become more empathetic, responsible, and self-confident and give you needed support.
Ask Others to Help. You can and should ask other family members to share in caregiving.
A family conference can help sort out everyone’s tasks and schedules. Friends and neighbors also may be willing to provide transportation, respite care, help with shopping, household chores, or repairs. Volunteer services are also available as needed.
Create a list of things that need to be done, such as grocery shopping, laundry, errands, lawn care, housecleaning, or spending time with the care recipient, and put it in a clearly visible place. If someone says, “let me know if there is anything I can do to help” you can point to the list. Take a break from caregiving. Even if it is only 15 or 20 minutes a day, make sure you do something just for you.
Exercise. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes, three times a week. This is a great way to take a break, decrease stress and enhance your energy.
Eat healthy. To help give you more energy, avoid foods that are high in:
•Salts, chemical preservatives and additives
Attend a support group for caregivers. Check with your doctor, Generations Hospice Care, or the local area agency on aging for groups that meet for this purpose.
Seek professional help. Many caregivers have times when they are lonely, anxious, guilty, angry, scared, frustrated, confused, lost, and tired. If you feel like these feelings are overwhelming you, call your doctor, hospice, or another community resource.