National Family Caregivers Month seems to fit right in with my life. November has shown me the difficulties in finding help when a family member needs a caregiver. With aging parents, there are issues that can cause us to need to hire a caregiver. Sometimes it’s impossible to be there to help an aging parent.
When we add the additional complication of Covid-19, hiring a caregiver is next to impossible. When both of my parents were diagnosed with this virus, we found out how many problems can arise. My mother, who has dementia, has a sitter. A caregiver stays with her when my father can’t be there.
But, with covid, no sitters are available. No one wants to come there and get covid and then take it back to their family. So, while my father was in the hospital, my mother was alone. No one wanted to stay with her, because they would catch covid. So, not only were we worrying about their ability to recover, but would they be safe on their own.
Having a good caregiver is easiest when a family member can be the caregiver. But, often there isn’t a family member who can stay home with them. Whether all family members are working during the day, or maybe they live too far away. Then, family members have to make some tough decisions.
Even when covid is not part of the equation, care-giving is a very hard lifestyle. Caregivers that are family members rarely get a break. If they can’t get away, stress can become severe. Mental health issues can become a problem. It’s important to appreciate the role of caregivers, and also to offer them time away.
Having an adult care program during the day can help a caregiver who works or just needs time alone. Many communities have respite care organizations. These programs provide help, such as when an aide can come to your home for a certain amount of time. It can be helpful to join a support group, and these can be found online.
If you are a caregiver, make sure to take care of yourself. Time for self-care and mental health care is necessary. Eldercare Locator can help you locate community programs to make caregiving easier for you and your family.
@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman