Approximately 85 percent of caregivers in the United States provide care for a family member or other loved one — mother, father, child, friend, grandparent — and spend, on average, between 24 and 40 hours per week at the task. And that’s often in addition to trying to hold down a job or take charge of other responsibilities.
It’s a lot of work.
Do you have a family caregiver? Or do you know someone (a husband or wife, maybe, or a devoted child) who provides care for an aging loved one in Whatcom County?
That caregiver needs recurring breaks.
The day that a family caregiver can take a break is the day he can go into Lynden for Bible study. It’s the day she can get her hair done at her favorite place in Ferndale. It’s the day he or she can head into Bellingham and knock out all of the shopping and errands for the next couple of weeks, relieving a giant stress.
The night that a family caregiver gets a break is the night he or she can finally get some sleep, free of the stress of worrying about caring for an elderly loved one.
This holiday season, consider the immense blessing that the gift of a day off can bring. Time away from the stress and pressures of work is an important part of self-care for family caregivers.
It’s not uncommon for caregivers to experience burnout, stress, depression and high blood pressure. And the list certainly doesn’t stop there. Family caregivers do their work because they are committed to do it; they made a promise to the person they’re caring for, and they want that person — their husband or wife or mom or dad or brother or sister – to know they will be well cared for.
But commitment doesn’t make the work of caregiving easier. That doesn’t keep feelings of guilt, anger or resentment from occasionally toppling a caregiver’s sense of serenity or purpose. When a person is caring for a spouse, the relationship sometimes changes from experiencing shared joys and intimacy to taking care of someone in need of constant attention. Sometimes, that person has dementia, and the caregiver must bear the burden of watching their loved one slowly disappear.
That caregiver needs a break.
This Christmas, consider who in your life needs a day away from the burdens of caregiving. One eight-hour shift per week — or even every other week — could provide enormous relief for a family caregiver. Maybe this person is someone caring for you, or maybe it’s a sibling caring for your mom or dad. No matter who it is who could use temporary respite, the gift of regular caregiving assistance will continue to pay dividends all year long for Bellingham, Nooksack Valley, Ferndale and Lynden family caregivers.
Take My Hand At-Home Care provides a range of respite and caregiving services for individuals and families throughout Whatcom County — from 24-hour live-in care to part-time caregiving assistance a few days per month. These services allow people who need a preliminary form of assisted living to remain living at home, and they allow family caregivers the break they need to recharge.