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Do you provide care for a loved one that is over 60 or suffering from a dementia related disease? Do you find yourself not taking time for your own personal needs? Do you find that you are not taking care of your own health due to making sure your loved one gets the medical care they need? Are you spending more time during a day taking care of your loved ones needs than your own? Do you feel as if you are neglecting yourself and family by caring for someone else? If so, then you may be eligible for a grant that may allow you some respite time to take care of yourself.
Many caregivers do not afford themselves the time they deserve to take a moment and relax or attend to their personal and/or emotional health. However, self-preservation is the key ingredient needed for a caregiver to succeed. You may feel as if you cannot take a day to tend to your own medical needs because who will take care of your loved one. However, you must ask yourself, who will take care of your loved one if you were to pass away?
Statistics show that 8 out of 10 caregivers will pass away before the one to whom they provide care. What causes this high percent? The lack of self-preservation! Taking respite is a key part of your self-preservation. Respite defined is ‘taking a short break from a difficult task’. Respite is to give caregivers that chance to take a deep breath and do something for themselves. Be it going to lunch with a friend, or going to a movie with your spouse or just going grocery shopping without feeling as if you must rush. The goal of respite is to take time for yourself. Take a moment to take care of you so that you may continue to take care of your loved one.
Since respite is not to provide long-term care, the key to respite is to know when to take it. Often caregivers will become angry and upset and feel as if they are the only one that cares. Unfortunately, many times this may be the case in regards to other family members. Statistics show that families with a loved one diagnosed with some form of dementia do not communicate nor work together to provide care. In fact, statistics have shown 4 out of 5 families dealing with this disease fall apart and become estranged due to the pressures of the disease. Therefore, even if you are not the one that is providing the majority of care, you can be a part of knowing when respite is needed and making sure the respite takes place. If you and a family member are working together to care for a loved one, notice when they feel lethargic or irritated and encourage them to take a step back. Suggest that they allow someone else to take on some of the care even if for just a short time.
Now that we know who needs respite, what respite is and when to take respite, you may be wondering, where can I get assistance with respite? Reach out to one of the Caregiver Advocates and let them help you discuss options that may be available. You may be eligible for a grant, which would allow you to pick a provider to come in and provide services for your loved one for you to take time away from the stresses of caregiving. Advocates will also work with you to see if there are other options available on a more consistent basis. Advocates can talk with you and help you decide if having a provider come in the home is best or if more beneficial for your loved one to attend a day program. Whichever decision you make the key is for you to know options and be able to make informed decisions.
Appalachian Area Agency on Aging
Caregiver Support Program