Even though November has been designated as National Family Caregivers month, taking care of the caregiver is something that needs to be front-of-mind year ‘round. Because caregivers can typically be juggling so many items – work, family obligations and their aging parents – equipping the seniors’ home with a medical alert system can offer the caregiver peace of mind beyond compare.
Caregivers provide help with in-home health care, errands, housekeeping and transporting senior family members to and from doctor visits. Because there are so many demands placed on caregivers, they are prone to suffer from anxiety, illness and depression. Regardless of whether your loved one is ill or simply is an aging arent who wants to age at home, it is a daunting task. Here are some steps to take to help take care of the caregiver:
- Ask for help. Simply because the aging or ill care recipient is your family member doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Look for volunteers to come to the house and help with weekly housekeeping or grocery shopping, take turns with a friend or another family member for taking the family member to doctor’s visits. See if there are outside activities in which your family members can become involved – events at senior centers for example.
- Build a network of support. While your siblings may not offer to help with caring for your aging parents, chances are they will offer help if you ask. If either of your senior parents suffers from any particular illness or disease, look into support groups. Talk to a local area agency on aging for support services that are provided. A support network can include equipping your loved ones home with a medical alert system, one of the best types of support systems as it gives the aging parent a way to have immediate access to medical care in the event of a medical emergency or a trip or fall. Having the medical alert pendants offers the caregiver the peace of mind in knowing that the systems are monitored 24/7.
- Take daily breaks. You need to take some time for yourself, even if it’s simply going to a coffee shop to relax and read a newspaper. Go out for lunch, take a walk in the park…take a break to recharge your batteries.
- Don’t neglect your own health. If you’re not feeling well you can’t be your best for anyone. See
your doctor if you need help with your health. Take a day off if you’re not feeling well. Also talk with your doctor if the stress of caregiving is taking its toll.
- Look for resources. Many insurance providers or local aging agencies offer resources for individuals who are dealing with a senior loved one. Call your aging adults’ insurance provider and check on local resources.
Baby boomers are straddling the line between seeing their own children move out of the home but now being faced with taking care of their aging parents and it can be mentally and physically exhausting. Caregivers need to care for themselves as well as their loved ones.