How Can We Help Family Caregivers Find More Time During the Holidays?

November 27, 2017

Dear Benchmark,

I’m a nurse practitioner for a busy family practice physician. Every year about this time, we see a steady stream of weary caregivers. They are run down and exhausted. It puts them at higher risk for everything from the flu to depression.

As the holiday season heats up, we are looking for resources to share with family caregivers who need extra help. I’ve read a little bit about respite care but would like to hear more from an aging-services professional like you.

What is respite care and how can we help families use it?

Best regards,
Bonnie

The Gift of Time during the Holidays

Dear Bonnie,

We agree! The holidays are such a hectic time of year for everyone. The added tasks of shopping, parties, cooking, and entertaining can easily overwhelm an already weary family caregiver.

As you know, caregiving duties don’t stop just because the holidays are here. For overtaxed caregivers, the additional stress can be too much. But respite care is a great solution. And there are many types of it.

Here’s what you can share with patients who are family caregivers.

Respite Care for Older Adults

Respite care gives family caregivers a temporary break. It can be a solution for someone who needs a few hours of time to go shopping or handle other tasks. Or it can be a few weeks to enjoy a holiday getaway.

The Gift of Time during the Holidays Dear Bonnie: We agree! The holidays are such a hectic time of year for everyone. The added tasks of shopping, parties, cooking, and entertaining can easily overwhelm an already weary family caregiver. As you know, caregiving duties don’t stop just because the holidays are here. For overtaxed caregivers, the additional stress can be too much. But respite care is a great solution. And there are many types of it. Here’s what you can share with patients who are family caregivers.

There are many options for respite:

• Some senior living communities offer short-term respite stays. The length of time will vary by community. Respite can feel like a vacation for the caregiver and the senior. While the caregiver receives the gift of time, the senior has an opportunity to join in on all of the holiday festivities and fun at the senior living community.
• Adult day services might be another option to consider. The senior could attend a day or two a week throughout the holiday season and beyond. Some adult day centers even offer transportation.
• An in-home care agency is also a resource that might be of interest. They can arrange for a caregiver to come to the senior’s home to help a day or two a week or even around the clock. The caregiver can typically assist with personal care, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.
• It’s also worth encouraging patients to call their local agency on aging, their area senior center, and even their religious organization. Some might have volunteers who visit homebound seniors and offer social companionship for a few hours each week.

I hope this information is useful to your patients, Bonnie. If you have more questions about senior living or respite care services, please call us at (888) 492-9583.

We’ll be happy to help answer them!

 
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