Learning How to Take a Break
Family caregiving is a full-time responsibility. Most of the time, family members who care for their aging loved ones become caregivers with no prior experience or training. The shallow learning curve comes with caregiving can often be exhausting and stressful. As a result, many caregivers face what’s called “caregiver burnout,” the experience of over-exhaustion caregivers feel when they take on too much. In this blog, we want to talk about the importance of taking a break, as well as provide some ideas as to how you can take breaks to recover from the stresses that come with the role.
Before moving on, we must address the elephant in the room, i.e., all of the reasons why you may not take breaks. Reasons may vary, like claiming you do not have enough time for breaks to personal motivations that influence your feelings about taking time off from caregiving. For example, a personal reason why you may not take enough breaks from caregiving is that you feel guilty stepping back for a little while. Perhaps you perceive breaks as a slight form of abandonment. In fact, research has suggested that caregivers want to feel like time away from caregiving is warranted and legitimate, indicating that people are being conscientious about the time they take to be apart from their loved one. In this blog, we hope to justify to you the importance of taking a rest as a caregiver as it can ultimately help you provide more stable and consistent care for your loved one if practiced appropriately.
One of the first things to consider is the amount of time you would like to spend away from caregiving. This is the first step to find a temporary replacement, allowing you to coordinate with family members, friends, or a professional organization. Once you have your replacement taken care of, it is important to use the time in a way that is healthy and helpful for you. Take this time to achieve your own personal tasks, whether it’s sleeping, reading, writing, or exercising. Remember: doing absolutely nothing is totally valid, as well. As a caregiver, you are doing so much. Thus, just taking time to relax can be exactly what you need to revitalize yourself so you do not experience caregiver burnout.
As mentioned above, one way to find help is working with a professional organization that can connect you with a professionally trained caregiver. For example, ElderCare at Home is a nurse registry that connects you with trained caregivers to help care for your loved one according to whatever schedule is most convenient. If you have any questions about finding a caregiver, then contact ElderCare at 888-285-0093 or visit our website for more information.
 de la Cuesta-Benjumea, Carmen. “The legitimacy of rest: conditions for the relief of burden in advanced dementia care-giving.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 66, no. 5 (2009): 988-998.
Are you trying to balance caring for your aging parents, and your growing family, and finding it difficult to navigate this journey on your own?