Caregiving, Resources

Caring for Yourself as the Primary Caregiver

Providing care for your loved one can be a rewarding experience. If you are the primary caregiver for a family member, you may take great joy knowing the care you provide allows your loved one to remain at home. It takes a special kind of person who can juggle the responsibilities of your own life as well as those of the person you for whom you care.

However, sometimes these responsibilities pile up, and you may find yourself feeling behind or stretched too thin. Without the proper support, the physical, emotional, and financial toll can be overwhelming.

As the primary caregiver, it is crucial to recognize your own needs in addition to those of your relative’s. Caregiver burnout is a real problem and failing to acknowledge or admit that you also need support can be detrimental to your ability to perform your caregiving duties to the fullest.

In our article about caregiver burnout, we discussed some of the ways you can get the necessary help you need to stop it from happening. However, there are other resources to consider when you feel like you need a break. It is essential to look into all of your options when seeking care for yourself.

Respite Care

Respite Care - A Young And Old Woman Hanging Out

Source: homecareassistancebarrie.ca

Respite allows you to step back and take a break from your caregiving duties. Even if you feel as if you have everything under control, a short break is beneficial for your health and peace of mind. [i]

According to a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, 60% of caregivers between the ages of 19-64 reported fair or poor health, one or more chronic conditions, or a disability. Only 33% of non-caregivers reported these problems. [ii]

Respite care has numerous benefits not just for you as the primary caregiver, but also for the rest of your family. Perhaps taking a break from your role makes you feel guilty. However, respite is proven to help sustain the health and well-being of family caregivers (including reducing the chance of divorce), delay or avoid out-of-home placements, and reduce the risk of neglect. [iii]

Respite care has several forms. You can ask close friends and family to watch your loved one to visit others, work out, or catch up on chores. Or, you can find volunteers or paid caregivers who assist as you need it. Lastly, adult day care centers, day camps, or nursing homes can care for your relative while you take a break. [iv]

The drawback to respite care is that many insurance companies do not cover the cost. While Medicare might cover the majority of the price, it only includes up to five consecutive days in a hospital or skilled nursing facility for those in hospice.  Medicaid may provide some assistance, but many caregivers must pay out of pocket for respite care. Generally, respite care services charge either by the hour, the number of days, or the weeks provided. If insurance doesn’t cover anything, the cost could add up, which can be a deterrent for those who need it the most. [v]

Other Options for Support

Respite Care - Woman Leaning Against Window With Mug

Source: homecareassistanceportlandmaine.com

If you feel that you need to temporarily step away from your duties as the primary caregiver but feel that respite care is not for you, there are other solutions to get the support you want.

One idea is hiring an in-home caregiver to help with duties you may no longer be able to perform and having a second person available to help you take care of your loved one will take much of the weight of responsibility off of your shoulders.

An in-home caregiver such as the ones at MeetCaregivers can assist with as much or as little as you want. Knowing that someone is available to help with transportation to appointments, or to be there when you can’t make it will make it easier for you to stay on top of your responsibilities in every aspect of your life.

Additionally, knowing that someone is available in case of an emergency will provide better peace of mind. If you happen to live far away from your relative, this is especially true. There may be times when you as the primary caregiver are unable to help. A backup plan and a secondary caregiver are great ways to meet your relative’s needs as they arise.

Your insurance plan may cover the cost of hiring an in-home caregiver and be more affordable than finding respite care. Call or send us an e-mail. We’ll work with you to find the best options and find the right support for you and your loved one.

Let Us Help!

For more information, contact MeetCaregivers at 1-888-541-1136 or info@meetcaregivers.com

Looking for more resources about caregivers? Our blog has plenty of information for you to read and learn about the topic. For area events and extra support, Boston’s AARP website is another source for you and your loved one.

Sources:

[i]  “What is respite care?”. Carer Gateway. Commonwealth Australia. Accessed 8 May 2019.

[ii] Respite care. (2018, February 15). Retrieved May 8, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respite_care

[iii] ARCH National Respite Network & Resource Center. The ABC’s of Respite accessed 8 May 2019.

[iv] Respite Care. (2019, March 20). Retrieved May 8, 2019, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/caregiving/respite-care.htm/

[v] What Is Respite Care? (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2019, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-respite-care

3 thoughts on “Caring for Yourself as the Primary Caregiver

  1. Benjamin says:

    what is in home respite care 2019

  2. Thank you for an additional wonderful article. Where else could anyone get that type of info in this kind of a ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and Im to the look for these data.

    1. Madison says:

      We’re so glad to hear that you liked this! When I wrote this article, I simply did some Google searches and gathered my information that way. For this article, in particular, I looked up posts about respite care and then clicked any highlighted links or sources they used to get a more in-depth look. I hope that answers your question!

Comments are closed.