A familial caregiver is an individual that dedicates his or her time to providing care to their loved one.
Although the term implies that the caregiver is directly related to the person they are caring for, they can also be a close family friend or acquaintance. This caregiver is often giving their time to the individual free of charge or in exchange of money ‘under the table.’ Although some familial caregivers are experienced in the caregiving field, most are not from a caregiving background and are learning about being a caregiver as they go. Familial caregivers are providing care to their loved one out of the goodness of their hearts and to help their loved ones as best they can.
What is Respite Care and How Can it Help Familial Caregivers?
Respite care is best defined as short-term relief for caregivers, by providing care for their patient for hours at a time. Respite care can be anywhere from a few hours to months at a time, depending on what the familial or primary caregiver needs. Respite care is the perfect option for primary caregivers if:
- They need a mental, emotional or physical break from caregiving
- They need time off to attend a meeting, doctors’ appointment or a simple outing that requires them to leave their post as a caregiver
- They need time off to go on vacation.
- They would like to participate in certain activities where their patient will be present, but they would like the freedom to be without caregiving duties for a certain amount of time.
Some familial or primary caregivers may feel as though respite care is a way to take a break without removing themselves completely from being a caregiver.
Everyone deserves a mental, physical and emotional break every now and then, and respite care can help give them the break they deserve!
Why is Seeking Support Important?
Being a familial or primary caregiver for your loved one can bring a lot of pressure along with it. Caregivers can start to feel extreme anxiety due to the pressure to continuously look out for their loved one. The pressure of being in charge of a loved one and their wellbeing can catch up to caregivers, leading to feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, depression and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Seeking support from medical professionals, therapists and caregiving professionals can help familial caregivers feel in control of their emotions and their well-being.
If being a primary or familial caregiver is causing extreme anxiety and/or depression, it is imperative to seek out help from a medical professional immediately. Medications can be prescribed for both depression relief and anxiety relief. While he or she is taking time to mentally or emotionally heal, a caregiver can help with their duties in the meantime. Leaning on professional services in times of uncertainty and heightened emotions can allow primary caregivers to seek the relief that they long for and deserve.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling withdrawn from activities you usually enjoy.
- Loss of appetite
- Clouded mind
- Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless and generally empty.
- Thoughts about suicide and death in general.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling uneasy or apprehensive
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Weakness in your arms and legs
- Fear of certain situations, people or things
If you experience any symptoms of anxiety or depression, please seek medical help immediately.
How to Get Respite Care
Respite care can be accessed through local, reputable home care agencies. When looking for a caregiver to help with respite care, it is important to be upfront and honest with the needs of the patient, how much care they require and whether they will need home health assistance or not. Some home care agencies are non-medical, while others focus solely on medical home care. Knowing which type of care is required will allow the search to be easy and a smooth transition from familial caregiver to professional caregiver.
When respite care is requested, it is important to also know how much time is needed, as that will heavily impact the cost of care. In most cases, the family of the patient will cover the cost of respite care, so it is imperative to have a set budget when looking for a respite care provider.
This will help indicate how much time you will have with your caregiver and how you can utilize their services to fit your budget and lifestyle.
If you are interested in hiring a respite care provider, 24 Hour Home Care may be the right fit for your family. Our caregivers are trained to provide light housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, companionship and medication reminders. We are dedicated to providing quality respite care to the familial caregivers that have been putting their heart and soul into caring for their loved ones. We hope that our respite care providers can give primary caregivers the break that they deserve!