Being a caregiver is a long-term commitment that comes with watching a loved one age with a progressive disease, all while juggling various roles and responsibilities. Some days, it feels as though the weight of the world is falling right on your shoulders, and it reminds us that sometimes, we need to support fellow caregivers, too.
We know your plate is full, and that is why we’re here – to provide the tools, resources, and support needed to ensure that both you and your loved one are living a life full of meaning and purpose. This is a journey that does not need to be walked alone, and even during some of the hardest trials, there is still joy to be found in caregiving.
When was the last time you had a moment to yourself? Truly, a moment when you could focus on yourself (and only yourself) and the very things you need to fuel your soul.
We recognize the many ways in which caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can present with its own rewards, as well as challenges and unique circumstances that might make it difficult to step away or find a moment of respite. While we know how devoted each of you is to being a caregiver and providing only the best for your loved ones, it is also okay to acknowledge that no one person is equipped to take on the full plate of caregiving all by themselves 24/7, 365 days a year.
Being a caregiver comes with a hefty load, and it in no way makes you weak or selfish to acknowledge when it comes time to ask for help or even set aside your caregiver hat to seek respite care for yourself.
According to the National Institute on Aging, respite care can provide primary caregivers with short-term relief and can take place within the home, at a residential or nursing facility, or even at an Adult Day Care like Oakwood Creative Care’s very own Day Clubs. Respite care offers caregivers like you the chance to prevent the risks of burnout, relieve stress, restore energy, and promote balance within your day-to-day lives.
As an added benefit, respite care can also provide your loved ones with an opportunity to experience engaging activities that offer both a change in the environment and mental and physical stimulation, as well as the important chance to connect with and foster friendships with other adults.
With seeking respite care, it is vital to remind yourself that you are not simply shirking off your duties and responsibilities to others; instead, you are tapping into a team of professionals who want to see you take time for yourself. According to Maple Wood Senior Living, these are ways in which caregivers can benefit from utilizing respite care for their loved ones:
Relaxation: Caregivers are “on-duty” nearly every hour of every day. Respite care can provide an opportunity for caregivers to do something for themselves, which could be as simple as taking a nap or going for a walk.
Self-discovery: Many individuals define themselves through their role as a caregiver. Respite care offers the opportunity for caregivers to rediscover their hobbies and interests while still caring for their loved ones.
Socialization: Caregivers are often socially isolated, especially if their loved one has limited cognitive abilities. According to the National Institute on Aging, isolation can have negative health impacts such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline. Utilizing respite care to make time to reconnect with family and friends is important to general wellness and can actually make you a better caregiver.
We know there may come times when you find yourself faced with guilt over asking for help, but again – no one person can carry all this weight all by themselves all of the time. You will burn yourself out doing so, which could have an impact on your loved one, which is why many organizations have cultivated communities of professionals and everyday persons who share in your journey and want to help you alleviate some of the burdens.
For example, ARCH National Respite Networks offers an online portal where you can search for respite care services in your area. For caregivers local to Arizona, the Arizona Department of Economic Security provides a list of community resources for respite care, such as the Area Agencies on Aging and the Arizona Caregiver Coalition.
Lastly, Oakwood Creative Care is honored to be a source of respite care for Arizona caregivers. We understand that a diagnosis and decline in physical or cognitive functioning due to aging affects the entire family. For this reason, Oakwood Creative Care is here to provide local support and education through support groups, care partner training, and memory cafes – so that ALL areas of life can be filled with joy.
Caregiving is hard, but it is never a journey that needs to be traveled alone. Caregivers, we implore you to take advantage of the opportunities to seek respite for yourself. After all, in order to take care of someone else, you have to be able to take care of yourself first, and we want to be there to help you find the chance to do so.
A Fellow Caregiver
We're Here For You
The impacts of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related issues affect the entire family. That is why Oakwood Creative Care’s team of talented and compassionate experts is here — to provide services, education, and support to help you navigate through this journey. Click the link below to get connected and find resources dedicated to caregiver support.