Although being a primary caregiver can be very rewarding, it can also be very stressful. Accepting the responsibility for another’s well being is a monumental commitment. We often do it out of a sense of love or responsibility. In some cases individuals become primary caregivers not by choice but they are thrust into the role through circumstance. Regardless of the reasons for becoming a caregiver, the relationship that you enter into is a complex one. It goes much further than the day to day tasks needed to maintain and assist an individual. Life as you know it is fundamentally and immediately changed. Now you filter and screen your needs and plans through the needs and responsibilities you have toward the individual in your charge. In effect you are on call twenty four hours a day seven days a week. Your personal plans can change at a moments notice. You serve as an intermediary for all the assistance the individual in your care receives. You are an interpreter often restating and explaining the protocols and the necessity of the services provided, often supplying the services yourself. You are an advocate and a supporter displaying empathy and encouragement. These tasks are all provided while dealing with the psychology of change that the individual in your care experiences. Caregivers often become isolated from their friends and families because they become so focused and involved with the task at hand and the responsibility of running two households. Their day moves at a faster pace and their lives can turn into logistical nightmares. For this reason primary caregivers need to take breaks and set aside some time to relax and recharge. They can do this by sharing this responsibility with another family member or relative for a period of time or by utilizing a home care service to assist them with the day to day tasks. Primary caregivers might also want to seek out a support group to deal with the stress and emotional issues that are the product of this unique relationship. You need to avoid “Caregiver Burnout”, because once you reach that point you are no longer an effective resource for the individual in your care.
-By Hello! Home Care President Ben Mishico