This article was originally published two years ago and, you know what? It is still so true.
Some people think the hardest job in the world might be serving as President of the United States. Well, we admit we haven’t worked closely with him, but we’re sure it’s a tough assignment. However, we are truly convinced that the hardest job in the world is actually that of being a family caregiver. It is so hard, in fact, that the statistic that reinforced our own desire to start an in-home care agency (http://www.supportforhome.com/) is that 65% of family caregivers die before the person they are taking care of at home.
That statistic is frightening. Family caregivers need help — not just from agencies such as ours, but from friends, other family members and, strange as it may sound, from themselves.
What we mean by that last comment is that family caregivers must first take care of themselves, if they are going to be successful in caring for others. That means rest and respite. It means fun and relaxation. It means support groups, for sharing, when the person being cared for is suffering from dementia or a chronic physical condition.
More than anything else, it means that the family caregiver must act with a bit of what might feel like selfishness, once in a while, in order to be the best caregiver he or she can be.
Making sure that you get adequate respite care is the starting point. If there is someone else in the family who is competent and able to provide that respite care, great. If not, look for a very good in-home care agency, whose employees can provide you with the breaks you need. That will allow you to come back to that hardest job in the world refreshed and ready to go.
If you are ready to look for help, check out a list of questions you want to ask, before you decide who is going to provide care to your family.