As we begin to age, many begin to worry about the issues we will face during the senior season of life. Adults worry about things like declining physical ability, memory loss, chronic diseases, and financial troubles, to name a few. While we tend to think about our own health with regard to aging, we also need to think about our own health as it pertains to caring for others, especially seniors.
Senior caregivers carry a heavy emotional load. Anger, guilt, denial, and regret are often compounded by the states of exhaustion and loneliness—creating a chronic state of extreme stress for the caregiver.
The physical demands of caregiving cause caregivers to place their own health second to the person they’re caring for. A body that suffers from poor nutrition and weakened immunities leaves the caregiver susceptible to a host of chronic diseases, mental health issues, and fatigue. When senior caregivers risk their own health in caring for others, it’s time to call in some other services to lighten the load.
Caregivers who are looking for in-home caregiving, to fill in scheduling gaps for when they’re not available, will find an array of options at SeniorAdvisor.com. Caregivers can look for help among 15 listings of in-home caregivers, read through descriptions of services, and check pricing to make sure it fits within your budget planning. Caregivers can also read verified reviews from consumers who have had first-person experience with the service. The search feature allows you to narrow your search by selecting just the services that you need.
Seniors, family members, and senior caregivers will find a host of senior resources at the website for the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. This is a state website that offers assistance and information for seniors age 60 and over, as well as individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Services include:
Home delivered meals Medical equipment and supplies Minor home modification Personal response systems Services for grandparents caring for children and young adults
Senior caregivers may take advantage of support groups with other senior caregivers. Support groups generate discussions among the group that encourage participants to find strength in sharing experiences. The state of Tennessee participates in the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), which is a federal program that provides grants to states under the Older Americans Act Amendment of 2000. The goal of the program is to help caregivers provide assistance to seniors in their homes. Senior caregivers can find support groups by contacting the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.
An important resource for senior caregivers in Memphis is the 2-1-1 Tennessee Statewide Resource Network, a statewide transportation system for senior citizens who are over the age of 60. This service provides service to Memphis residents within the I-240 Loop who need transportation to non-emergency medical appointments, congregate meal sites, and for other appointments and errands. Seniors may call the dispatcher for transportation to medical appointments or call the main number to request transportation to meal sites. The service runs on Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. This service is free for seniors however they do accept donations.
While it’s important to supplement personal caregiving with outside supports and services, the caregiver needs to focus on maintaining his or her own health. Here are a few reminders of how to practice self-care for the caregiver:
Keep a strong, positive outlook Schedule time for exercise and physical activity Ask for help—don’t try to do it all yourself Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks Stay hydrated Attend a support group for caregivers Get regular medical checkups Stay current with vaccines Get counseling if you feel overwhelmed or depressed
It’s vital that caregivers make their own health a priority. Caregivers that feel weak and exhausted are prone to giving substandard care. If the caregiver’s health declines to the degree that they are unable to perform their duties, others will be left scrambling to figure out how to care for the senior.
Senior caregiving is a rewarding job. It is one that many people feel passionate about. Caregivers need to recognize that while the job is rewarding, it can be wrought with stress. Caregivers should consider taking some help from state and local programs to ease the burden enough to allow caring for themselves. They’ll be glad to have the optimal physical, mental and emotional strength that is required in caregiving.
Find assisted living in Memphis near you.