Everyone has a breaking point, when stress overwhelms. Some of us cry, some lash out in anger, some retreat into isolation and some suffer health issues. At WRC Senior Services, we know how stressful caring for an elderly loved one can be. Here are some tips to help you avoid that breaking point.
1. Make the most of community resources – there are resources out there to help with financial management, insurance questions, transportation, housekeeping, meals, socialization opportunities, placement in a facility and much more. The improvement to your stress level and health is well worth the investment. Depending on your loved one’s finances, there could even be little to no cost for these services!
Start out by calling your local Area Agency on Aging and ask what resources area available. You can also contact any of our WRC communities to point you in the right direction. Disease-specific organizations can help as well, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Stay organized with the info you learn by placing it in files for easy reference in the future.
2. Ask for help. Even if you are the primary caregiver, other family members and friends should be helping. Have a hard time asking for help or don’t know what to ask for? Here’s a great guide.
3. Take a break. Here’s a few ways to do it. WRC offers DayBreak at Laurelbrooke Landing in Brookville. Clients can come to DayBreak a few days a month, a few days a week, five days a week – whatever works for you. If you don’t live near Brookville, do an internet search to find adult day service providers in your area.
If you need a longer break or want to take a vacation, all of WRC’s personal care homes offer respite or temporary stays for your loved one. If you would prefer they stay in their own home, a home care agency such as our In Home Solutions PLUS is a great option. Other ways to take a break – ask a family member, friend or neighbor to visit with your loved one while you’re away. Even getting out and doing something you enjoy for a few hours will help lower your stress.
4. Let it out. You might be holding in a lot of feelings – frustration, guilt, fear, anger. It will eventually manifest itself in other ways like health problems of your own. Find a local caregiver support group to attend. In Clarion, there is a group that meets the 2nd Sunday of the month at 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Clarion. This is open to anyone and is not a church group. For more info, call 814-226-8237. Brookville has a dementia/Alzheimer’s caregiver support group that meets the 2nd Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the hospital. For more info, call 814-849-2312.
If you are more comfortable talking to someone on the phone, here’s some places you can call:
AARP Caregiving Support: 1-877-333-5885
Alzheimer’s Association: 1-800-272-3900
American Cancer Society: 1-800-227-2345
National Center on Caregiving: 1-800-445-8106
There is also groups you can get involved in online:
Thank you for what you do every day to care for your elderly loved one. Please on’t hesitate to reach out for help. Feel free to share any tips you may have by posting a comment.
Wishing you all the best in 2013!
– Dawn Wise, Director of Marketing and Communications
WRC Senior Services