Did you know that one in five Americans is a caregiver? It’s true; twenty percent of us care for an elderly or disabled person at home. We try to be super-human and balance our jobs and family with caregiving duties, but that seldom works. Caregivers burn out. They get frustrated and angry, they have more sick days and they are exhausted. Added to that, most caregivers of people 65 or older are in their 60s themselves. That means they may be dealing with some age-related arthritis or other health issues themselves.
If you are one of the twenty percent, you may have considered arranging for senior care services but you feel guilty at the prospect of hiring someone to help. You feel justified in having someone administer medications or lift your loved one for baths, but the idea of someone who will come and “just sit” makes you uneasy. After all, you are there and you can visit with your loved one, you can do dishes and vacuum, you can give massages and treat wounds.You can give adequate care without the added expense of in-home senior services.
Well, first, in-home caregivers seldom “just sit.” They read to the patient to keep them alert or they visit to give them socialization. Beyond that, the service caregivers can help with light housekeeping. That is where the guilt often surfaces. After all, if you are there, why let someone else do the work…and why pay to have it done?
The answer is simple: it will keep you from burnout and the associated illnesses it brings. Seventy-five percent of family caregivers are women, and women need more socialization. In short, you need to get out from time to time. In addition, the service doesn’t provide all the care. You do a lot. You are the “first responder” in the morning and the one who answers the call at two a.m. You are more likely to be obese than the general population. Wounds heal slower and you get depressed easier. Added to this, the resentment you may feel from being “boxed in” by your caregiving duties can lead to an unhealthy relationship with your loved one.
Insurance companies don’t usually cover custodial help. Still, the expense might be just as justifiable as a routine medical exam or a gym membership. It is preventative treatment. The cost may be less than treating burn-out related illness. If you are the one-in-five, that is something to consider.
If you would like to know more about in-home senior care, contact us. Let us show you how, instead of a “guilty pleasure,” it might just be a “stitch-in-time.”