As an elder loved one requires more and more attention from family caregivers, what once was joyful time spent together can quickly becomes a stress on the entire family. Diseases like COPD or cardiovascular disease may require constant monitoring and treatment. And with dementia and Alzheimer’s care, a family caregiver’s role is constantly changing to adapt to new, more severe cognitive losses. To avoid caregiver burnout, many families are seeking professional Respite Care, including 24 hour in home care.
Consider the following scenario:
Judy and Jane lived in Austin, Texas. Their mother, Dorothy, age 78, was fine most of the day. But her growing dementia had made daily routines such as preparing meals, taking medicines and running errands more and more difficult. Both Judy and Jane had received phone calls from concerned neighbors and friends who had seen Dorothy appearing confused in public or driving unsafely. The two sisters were faced with the possibility that their mother might need 24 hour care.
But Mom was always so healthy, so active. Of course, she had her medicine to control her cholesterol, and more recently medicine for Type II diabetes. And she occasionally took other over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or digestive aids. Judy had recently watched Mom pull out several pill bottles at once and struggle to read the labels. She had helped her mother to sort the meds into a weekly pill organizer.
Thankfully, Dorothy lived in Austin, Texas as well, so the daughters could take turns checking in and caring for her. Judy would be in charge of Mom each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus every other Sunday. Jane would take Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and alternating Sundays. But both Judy and Jane were married and working full-time, and Judy had her own young children to care for. Their visits were short, typically before or after work, sometimes during lunch. Each of them would try to schedule around Mom’s doctor appointments, salon appointments, trips to the bank or grocery store, or other events so that Mom would not need to drive herself anywhere. And of course, a portion of their limited time was spent dispensing Mom’s medicine to make sure she wasn’t missing anything or double-dosing.
This shared caregiver schedule worked for a while. But after only a few months, both Judy and Jane were exhausted, experiencing caregiver burnout. The new routine was putting a strain on their jobs and on their relationships with their husbands. For Judy, the hectic schedule was interfering with her children's school and sports schedules. Jane's kids were already grown, so she agreed to take on more days than Judy. This helped, but Jane's workload quickly became unmanageable. The sisters couldn’t bear the thought of putting Mom into a nursing home, and yet something had to give.
After a year of juggling hectic schedules, Jane decided to quit her job and move her mother in with her and her husband. She was now a full-time, unpaid caregiver, and headed toward caregiver burnout faster than ever. Judy continued to help when she could, but neither of them were equipped to be 24 hour caregivers. Jane especially needed an occasional break, a vacation. A respite from this high-stress situation.
Sound familiar? If so, then you are not alone. In the U.S., tens of millions of unpaid caregivers experience similar stresses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes a number of issues related to caregiver burnout, including caregivers having difficulty finding any personal time, balancing family responsibilities and managing stress or fatigue. Between 24 hour in-home care and moving Mom into a full-time nursing home, Respite Care is a temporary option that allows family caregivers like Judy and Jane to take much-needed time off. Whether you are taking a trip or just spending a quiet weekend at home, Respite Care allows you to live your life, knowing that your loved one is in good hands.
If you find you are in need of 24 hour in home care services in Austin, Texas, Hill Country Care Providers offers professional Respite Care and Vacation Care, covering a number of important duties such as:
- Personal Care such as bathing, dressing, grooming incontinent care or dental care
- Meal preparation, assisting with eating
- Transfers in and out of bed, wheelchair or motor vehicles
- Light housekeeping, kitchen cleanup, taking out the garbage, washing dishes, tidying up and laundry
- 24 Hour In Home Care
- Medication Management and medication reminders
- Transportation to physician appointments, dentists, shopping or errands
- Alzheimer’s Home Care, cognitive activities such as conversation, playing cards or games, assisting with crafts or hobbies
- Spiritual activities that encompass singing, walking outside and accompanying to church
- Companion Care, including watching movies or favorite television shows together
If you are a family caregiver, not only can you get temporary relief through Respite Care, but you will likely find that you are recharged and refreshed so that you can better enjoy the time with your loved one.
Learn More about Hill Country Care Providers and Respite Care or Vacation Care.