As you care for your loved one and the days pass, the dedication and determination start to feel more like work—a bit draining on the nerves—thoughts you didn’t know you could have start to arise. It’s normal, and you are not a monster.

It may be time to recruit some help! Family and close friends are your best resource, whether to get away for coffee or settle business matters or an afternoon of shopping and relaxing or a couple of days away from it all. Caregivers often burn themselves out because of their love and dedication to the care receiver. But just as the flight attendant says, if you have ever flown, you need to take care of yourself first to help others. There is help.

  1. Home-care Aides– care for the daily tasks of housekeeping, meals, basic daily tasks, and companionship.
  2. 2. Home Health Aide-they offer a level of health help beyond the home-care aide. They assist with medications, bathing, physical therapy exercise prescribed by a therapist, or whatever they are certified to do.
  3. Meal-service Provider– options include Meals on Wheels, Magic Kitchen’s Senior Diets, Bistro MD’s Silver Cuisine. Empty refrigerator problem solved! Check with your County Senior Center for availability and possible financial help.
  4. Mobility Service Provider-Transportation outlets like GoGoGrandparents and Veyo connect able-bodied seniors with on-demand rides. (you may want to check fees) Other companies are iTNAmerica, and Access-A-Ride will do door-through-door service for the physically and mentally disabled.
  5. Respite Service Provider-not all your tasks are local. Some things may require an overnight stay to settle matters, or my goodness, don’t feel bad about taking a weekend off to recoup and recharge. Don’t write these services off as too expensive. Check your Yellow Pages or again your County’s Senior services for suggestions.

Seventy percent of caregivers rely on family and family to help with all of these services, so it may be best to set up a family meeting to find out who has the time and is willing to help and make a schedule. Honesty is always the best policy, and no one is a superhero as time draws out.

You are a hero, and you deserve a pat on the back. The key is balance….not the spinning plates on sticks sort of balance! The kind where there is peace and harmony.