Respite Care: Caring for the Caregiver
November is national caregivers’ month, and this year’s theme is “Caregiving around the clock.” Anyone who has had the experience of caring for a loved one knows that it’s not a 9 to 5 gig, as many challenges present themselves around bedtime or even late at night. Being a caregiver means sleeping with one eye open, and caregiver advocacy organizations are concerned that caregivers are sacrificing their own needs in order to care for another.
Caregiving is like an endurance race rather than a sprint. The average caregiver is female, 49 and a half years of age, and has been caring for a family member for four years. Most will continue in this role for another five years or more. With such a long course, it is crucial that caregivers pace themselves. This means adding one more item to a long “to do” list: mandatory self-care.
Self-care can take many forms. Caregivers often forego their own medical and dental visits, intending to get to them “someday.” Self-care can also be as simple as a quiet trip alone to the library or meeting a friend at the movies. Three or four hours away from the caregiving environment each week makes a huge difference. Not only does it benefit the caregiver, it extends to the person they are caring for as well. Studies show that a consistent weekly break improves caregiver patience, competency, and overall contentment levels while decreasing stress and anxiety. For many caregivers, a weekly break means finding someone they can trust to take over for a few hours. They need Respite Care.
At Neighbors Who Care (NWC), we offer Sun Lakes and south Chandler seniors a variety of services, and we do it through the generosity of people who volunteer with us. With an appointment made in advance, our volunteers provide exceptional respite care when a family member caring for an NWC client needs time for themselves.
Neighbors Who Care offers other services as well, such as transportation to medical appointments, evening meal delivery, friendly visiting, and minor household repairs. Without the support of our incredible community, we wouldn’t be able to serve our senior neighbors as we’ve done for the past 25 years. Everything we do depends on the willingness and compassion of volunteers, and it’s critical to have a steady stream of new volunteers to serve our ever-growing list of clients.
We need you. Celebrate national caregiver’s month by volunteering with Neighbors Who Care. Visit our website at www.neighborswhocare.com or call 480-895-7133 to register for an upcoming volunteer orientation class. There are literally hundreds of clients who need your help, and many of them have caregivers who need a break. A few hours per month spent visiting with a frail, homebound neighbor makes all the difference in three lives: the client, their caregiver, and most of all, the life of the volunteer. Join us, and share your caregiving stories on the Neighbors Who Care Facebook page at @volunteerchandler!