We work with a large number of family caregivers in the greater Sacramento, California region at Support For Home. Daughters or sons or spouses or grandchildren, these people are caring, passionate, dedicated – and exhausted, physically or emotionally or both.
To these amazing people, we have a very sincere recommendation. That is to be selfish enough to take care of themselves, so that they can take care of their loved one. It is simple “enlightened self-interest.” Without the energy to perform as a caregiver, it does not matter how much love there is. The performance is just not going to be there; the caregiving, as a “job” is going to suffer.
To avoid that physical or emotional burn-out, we suggest family caregivers do two things.
The first is get great professional caregiver help. Family caregivers need to get adequate respite, but that will not happen just by being away from the person needing care. So, find a National Private Duty Association (NPDA) member home care agency who can provide a high quality agency that employs and carefully screens its caregivers.
Our second recommendation is to find one or more support groups that are relevant to your situation. One of the best pages of information on support groups for a wide variety of situations that caregivers and their loved ones have to deal with is on the Website of the Area 4 Agency on Aging. It is not complete, but it is a great place to start.
The support groups are critical not just as places to share your pain, but to share your knowledge and experience and absorb the lessons that others have to offer. If you have suggestions of other groups, please add your comment. We love to learn and share.
Best wishes, Bert