Are you looking ahead to a summer full of travel? For most adult children who take on the majority of care tasks and advocacy for their aging parent, getting out of town for a trip – business or vacation – can seem nearly impossible. After all, who will check in on your loved one while you are gone, drop off groceries, call them on Tuesday to remind them to take their pill, and bring them to church on Sunday? Leaving even for an overnight trip can seem like it is more trouble than it is worth.
However, family caregivers are at an increased risk of illness and mental health challenges when they do not carve out time for intentional rest. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 44 million adults provide unpaid assistance to older family members and most have little to no support. The emotional and physical toll caregiving takes on these unsupported caregivers can result in depression, anxiety, low immune system, increased risk of heart disease, and increased risk of substance abuse.
One thing is certain: rest and time away from the caregiving role are crucial.
One thing is also certain: caregivers feel they do not have the support to take that rest time.
If you are struggling to commit to putting travel, or even a few hours of designated rest time, on your calendar, here are a few benefits to making the choice to rest.
Time away from your caregiving role can drastically reduce your chances of depression, anxiety, and physical illness. When your body is given the time to rest, stress levels decrease. Too much stress can lead to an overload of cortisol in your body, which has been linked to heart disease, mental health issues, and other chronic conditions.
Have you ever felt frustrated or even resentful at your caregiving situation? You aren’t alone; most caregivers feel resentful of their role occasionally. However, time away from being a caregiver will increase your coping skills and energy so that when you return to your role, you will feel refreshed and ready to improve your relationship.
Practicing with Support
Respite care, or home care services offered during your times of travel or planned rest, is the perfect way to begin practicing your caregiver role with support. Not only does respite care give you the chance to work with a home care agency like CaringGivers, but your loved one also has the chance to interact with a caregiver besides you. This offers the opportunity for your loved one to build a new social relationship and to try tasks in a new way, which is wonderful for cognition.
Learning from Others
During your time away, the CaringGivers team is dedicated to providing excellent care to your loved one. When you return, we can offer you tips or resources to help you provide care in a more efficient or less taxing way. Our team offers years of experience working with people living with complex memory and physical conditions; let us give you a helping hand as you learn to care for your loved one.
Go ahead, take that vacation this year. We’ve got you covered. Contact the team at CaringGivers to tell us more about your situation and about your loved one. We will work with you to develop a plan of care that will leave you feeling confident as you take your restful trip. Let us take care of your loved one so that you can take care of yourself. You deserve it.