Seniors often rely on family members for their care. Family caregivers can perform a variety of tasks including taking care of their home, their health, and any other need that pops up. It’s a demanding job, and many caregivers work without pay and support. There are plenty of resources, though, in the Aurora area that can help caregivers do their job more efficiently as well as take care of themselves in the process. Whether you need to take a break or just talk with someone who understands, these resources should be helpful.
It is always a good idea to take a break from your duties, even if it’s just for a few hours. Breaks can help you recharge your battery and make you a better caregiver. There are a variety of ways you can take a break throughout the day. Maybe you need someone to take care of your house, or you need someone to come and care for your family member. No matter what, there is something for each caregiver.
Concierge services make it easy to focus on caregiving while also taking care of the million little things that need to get done. You don’t have to worry about running to the grocery store because there is someone who can do that for you. There is also someone who can clean your house and drop off anything that you forgot to pick up at the store. Online providers make it easy to find what you need if you have an internet connection.
For example, Rover.com helps you find local pet sitters or dog walkers that fit your specific budget. Just enter your price range, and they will come back with everyone who meets your criteria. TaskRabbit is another useful concierge service because you can hire someone for just about any job you can imagine. It can be as big as running your daily errands or as small as organizing your bills as they come in. Best of all, anyone you hire will be local.
Sometimes you must leave your house and family member because of work or an appointment. In those cases, adult day care programs are beneficial. Seniors get the supervision they need along with a meal, activities, and social interaction. Programs like the Morning Star Adult Day Program have memory care available as well as overnight services if needed. Adult day care in Aurora costs an average of $65 per day and sometimes Medicaid or VA benefits will cover the costs.
If you don’t have to leave your home but still need a break or assistance in-home respite care is available. A homemaker or home health aide will come to your house and perform a broad range of tasks. Homemakers usually focus on household chores like cleaning and meal preparation while home health aides can assist you with your family member. They can take care of personal grooming, transferring to a wheelchair, and sometimes transportation to appointments. These services can range from $144 to $150 per day.
Finally, residential respite care is also an option, best used when you’re gone for longer than a day or your family member needs more intensive care for a short time. Many assisted living facilities and nursing homes like Shalom Cares and Life Care Center of Stonegate allow seniors to get care in their facility short term. You don’t have to worry about them being alone or not getting the care they need because staff will handle all their needs. Assisted living facilities usually cost an average of $140 per day while nursing homes can range from $249 to $282 per day.
The Colorado Respite Coalition has a lot more information on respite programs in the area as well as a respite program locator. You can also use SeniorAdvisor.com to find locations and read reviews of places in your area.
Taking a break can help you do your job better, but it’s also a good idea to find a network of support. If you’re isolated most of the day, it can be tough to vent your frustrations or talk about what to do if you have an issue. Support groups can help you meet other caregivers in your area and “talk shop.” You can hear their stories, share knowledge, lend a hand, and just be there for one another.
Colorado has a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and they offer a lot of support services for caregivers including support groups. There are a few that meet in Aurora and at various times so you can find one that fits your schedule. Some groups might also offer respite care, so you don’t have to leave your family member alone.
Colorado 211 provides a variety of community services for neighborhoods all throughout Colorado. You can find support groups on their site including a group that meets through the Denver Hospice Association.
Other areas that provide support groups include the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center, if you need a support group for caregivers of stroke patients. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a family support group for caregivers of those with mental health issues. The National MS Society has a few support groups that meet in Aurora, and if you care for someone with cancer, you can find groups through the University of Colorado.
There is a high probability that at some point, you won’t be able to be a caregiver for your family member. There might be a big life change like a move or addition to the family that means your attention needs to shift or your loved one might require care that you can’t provide. In both situations, an assisted living facility or nursing home could be the best option.
If you’re having a tough time with this transition or just managing being a caregiver in general, a geriatric care manager can help. These professionals will meet with your family and identify your needs. Then they will come up with a care plan that fits those needs and coordinate everything, so you don’t have to worry about it. You can use a manager once just to set up a schedule or have an ongoing relationship with the manager to make sure things run smoothly.
Lastly, you need to be on the lookout for caregiver burnout because it’s a real problem for many caregivers. Unfortunately, many wait too long to seek help. Burnout can lead to more serious issues like depression and overall poor health, so if you feel like you’re reaching that point, ask for help. Your doctor can assist you with ideas to care for yourself, and your friends or family members can help and support. It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family.
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