May 5, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

Elderly woman and caregiver sitting outside

Imagine waking up in a room you don’t recognize, unable to remember how you got there or even what your name is. Your total confusion swiftly turns into fear and maybe rage, and you find yourself yelling at the stranger at your bedside who is trying to help you calm down.

Sadly, this is an accurate picture of a dementia patient’s daily reality. Now imagine that you’re the person standing at the bedside and having your loved one look at you with no recognition whatsoever. It’s heartbreaking, but you push through the daily pain and anxiety and go on with your caregiving duties for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.

According to recent reports from the Alzheimer’s Association, each year, family care providers spend 17.7 billion hours caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. With the overwhelming emotional strain that Alzheimer’s caregiving can result in, it’s easily one of the most stressful types of care provision. Family caregivers have several issues that contribute to their level of stress, such as problems with “letting go” of the senior affected by Alzheimer’s; feelings of guilt when considering moving loved ones to assisted living facilities; or fear of not being enough when it comes to providing care.

Undoubtedly, these statistics outline a vital need for chronic and long-term caregiver respite care. And respite is needed more than a few times per year to be truly beneficial. Family caregivers need to understand that support is not only helpful but necessary in order to maintain mental, emotional, and physical health. Devoting a life entirely to providing care for another person can actually cause great harm to both people’s lives. Caregivers who allow themselves regular respite feel rejuvenated and better able to provide the highest quality care. And those who do not are at risk for caregiver burnout.

If you notice any of the following signs of caregiver burnout, you may need respite care:

  • Excessive stress and tension
  • Feelings of depression
  • Overwhelming anxiety, anger or guilt
  • Decreased satisfaction with life
  • Relationship conflicts and social isolation
  • Increased illness/lowered immunity
  • Excessive use of medications, drugs or alcohol

If you’ve noticed any of these warning signs, it’s time to contact a trusted Syracuse home care provider, like At Home Independent Living, for respite care assistance. Our caregivers will help you create a custom dementia care plan for your loved one and provide compassionate in-home care whenever needed, allowing you the opportunity to recharge. Dedicated, professional help is just a call away.