If you’re a full or part-time caregiver for an older adult, you know just how difficult it can be. From checking on them first thing in the morning to making sure they have everything they need at night, caregiving can seem like an actual job. The thing is, with most full-time jobs, workers at least get a few vacation days. But when you’re a caregiver, you have to purposefully and deliberately carve out time for yourself.
So don’t wait for permission to take a well-deserved break from your duties at this “job.” With a personal medical assistant for your loved one, it may be easier than you think.
You deserve a break
First of all, let’s get you to admit that you really do need a break from caregiving. Many people in your situation push their own feelings about the matter to the side. They may want to put their aging loved one first, which is admirable.
Unfortunately, it’s also a strategy that can backfire horribly. The more you deny your own human needs for rest, health, peace, and joy, the less you will be able to bestow them upon others – including your loved one. You are a human being – not a robot. There is only so much you can accomplish without needing to recharge your batteries.
Second, let’s put to rest the myth that says you can’t afford to take a break, or don’t have time. The truth is, you can’t afford to not to take a break, even if you have to make the time. Caregiver burnout is a very real phenomenon. If you’re not vigilant, it can lead to physical and mental breakdown. The best way to prevent this is by taking regularly scheduled breaks.
Sometimes, this means just an hour a day for yourself. Other times, it may mean rearranging things so that you can get the care you need, like going to medical appointments. But every once in a while, it should come in the form of a longer period of time off.
Your loved one is in good hands with a qualified personal medical assistant
Okay, so you’ve decided that it is important to take a break from caregiving. Now you just need to find someone you trust to look after your loved one while you’re gone. You know you don’t want to place just anyone in this responsible position, and you’re right. You need a reliable, honest individual who will treat your family member like their own. Often, the best individual for this job is a personal medical assistant (also called a home health aide) from a qualified agency.
One of the best things about these professionals is that they can stay as often as your loved one needs. That may be for a few hours during the day, overnight, or even 24/7. While it’s true that a nursing home can provide respite care as well, they only offer 24/7 care. This is care that your loved one may not need, but that they or you will have to pay for anyway.
In addition, a personal medical assistant can also do all the things you normally do for your loved one, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, cooking, light cleaning, and transport. They can also accompany older adults on errands and doctors’ visits. This way, you never need to fear they’ll miss important appointments while you’re away. Finally, a personal medical assistant can keep your loved one company if they become lonely during your absence.
A personal medical assistant is the ideal solution
Giving yourself a break from caregiving isn’t just a good idea – it’s also like insurance. For instance, if you burnout or suffer from unresolved health issues, who will look after your loved one? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so don’t feel guilty about preventing problems before they start! A personal medical assistant is often the ideal solution when you need to reboot your caregiving system. You’ll return relaxed, refreshed, and better able to handle any challenges that come your way!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.