It starts slowly. Your Mom or Dad just need a little care. You stop on your way to work in the morning to check on your aging parent since you live close. You help with a few tasks, then do the same in the evening on your way home. As their care declines more, you are spending a couple of hours in the morning and night. Then they begin to need even more care. You find yourself practically living with them. You have evolved into their Full Time Family Caregiver.
Ways To Handle Being A Full Time Family Caregiver
Being a Full Time Family Caregiver can mean different things to different people. When care needs become intense, Family Caregivers approach the need different ways:
- Some Family Caregivers attempt to provide all the care, all the time, which is a recipe for caregiver burnout. Very few people can provide care 24 X 7 for an extended period of time. Substantial physical, emotional or financial consequences can occur as a result.
- Other Family Caregivers provide some care, but delegate the rest. This is done by carefully scheduling family members to help with certain time blocks or with certain tasks. If there are enough family members who are able and willing to help, this option can work well for a while.
- Outside professional caregivers may be needed. This can happen if family lives out of town. Or if they are otherwise unavailable to provide the care needs of their aging parent. This category of helper is called non-medical home care. These caregivers usually provide sitter services, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Services offered and rates vary.
- The final option, which we will discuss in detail next week, is transition into Journey Stop #4. This option of care involves moving your aging parent to a Nursing Home or other care facility. This is entirely appropriate in certain circumstances. If you are considering this move for an aging loved one, stay tuned for our article next week.
The Toughest Of All Journey Stops
Journey Stop #3 can be the toughest of the journey stops. At this stage of the Caregiver Journey, your Loved One’s needs can be intense. You either personally provide care all the time or work to coordinate care for the times that you are not personally providing it.
Unless you have been fortunate enough to recruit a substantial amount of help, you may have had to quit your job. You did this to devote full time to your parents care needs. This stage of the caregiver journey can take a substantial toll. The emotional and physical health of a family caregiver can be in jeopardy. If you are currently serving as a family caregiver please take advantage of any respite time that becomes available.
Seek Respite Care As A Full Time Family Caregiver
For many caregivers respite care relief is not a possibility. In some situations, the Full Time Family Caregiver is the only child. Sometimes they have other family near by, but they are not able or willing to assist. To complicate the situation, often there is no available money to secure the assistance from Professional Home Care companies.
This puts the caregiver burden squarely on the back of the Full Time Family Caregiver. This can quickly lead to caregiver burnout, which is detrimental for both the caregiver and the loved one they serve. It is important you do everything possible to to help ease this burden as a Full Time Family Caregiver.
We have outlined several tips on our Journey Stop #3 Checklist. This lists several items that should be considered and acted upon as soon as possible. Download our Journey Stop #3 Checklist below, which is specifically designed for Full Time Family Caregivers. Hopefully you will see some item of information that will be beneficial to you.
“Full Time Family Caregiver” – The Selfless Servant
If you’re a Full Time Family Caregiver, no doubt your are serving selflessly to help fulfill the wish of your Loved One. Many people desperately do not want to go to a Nursing Home. They have clearly communicated this wish to their Family Caregivers (usually children). These children are giving their very life energy, talents, time and sometimes resources. This helps preserve their parents happiness and dignity. They try to make their parents final days or months as peaceful as possible. If you are a caregiver serving in this capacity, you have our utmost respect. Hopefully the items on the provided Checklist above will be beneficial to you and your Loved One. Thanks for doing your part to help take care of one of our valued Seniors.