- A Weekend Visit Ain’t 24/7
- Sometimes Our Loved Ones Bad Behavior Shows Up When Others Don’t
- The Wear and Tear is Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Not Just Physical
- It Just Builds Up – Until
- Take Care of Whom?
- Notice All That You Do!
- What Could Self-Care Look Like?
We are starting a series on caregiver burnout – it will comprise 7 posts written by Stephen Garrett.
There are big challenges coming our way over the next ten to fifteen years as our population continues to age, live longer, and ultimately die. Demands for care will grow exponentially, hospitals will not be able to cope, and publicly funded care homes will house only those with the most complex care needs. Those who are healthier will need to fend for themselves either in expensive private care homes or live with family.
Clearly one-third of our younger generations will be caring for both their children and their ageing parents and we are seeing the early signs now as health ministries begin to adjust their service strategies. Our family-sourced care providers will need to learn new skills in order to avoid the very real possibility of caregiver burnout.
This series of seven short articles is written from my experience supporting caregivers who are inching towards burnout. Each article is designed to provide information to the entire family and care team including friends so everyone can be well versed in what can go wrong in order that they can create a care system that will go right!
Here is your first installment:
A Weekend Visit Ain’t 24/7
Unless you have spent a good deal of time with an ageing family member there is a tendency to think you know what is going on in the home. This idea is informed by past history and often times does not account for the loss in ability and capacity that the loved one has recently experienced. There is often a sense of disbelief when the one providing 24/7 care talks about how it really is. This is especially true when family members live at a distance or when they drop in for an occasional visit.
The one giving care can be viewed as complaining when really they are asking for support and a bit of relief. It is easy for other family members to minimize the demands and in a way ignore the unspoken request for help. 24/7 care giving can be all consuming especially as the care needs increase and all the care giver is doing is handling their ageing loved ones unending need for almost constant care – feeding, toileting, bathing, dressing, company never mind the daily household requirements.
A simple remedy for this situation is for other family member to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of the primary caregiver and experience first hand what it is like to provide this type of intense and intimate support for a family member. This simple idea will give other family members a first hand experience and likely build both trust in the main care provider’s experience and their expressed need for respite and support.
24/7 care is no walk in the park and the primary care provider does deserve support in the form of respite, relief, and energetic compensation. Failure to provide this type of support will result in all manner of ‘bad’ feelings – resentment, overwhelm, and frustration being just a few. So be proactive and support your primary care provider by walking a mile in their shoes, when you do you will be surprised how willing you will be to provide the necessary respite for the ‘care quarterback will no burn out.