Where to Find Respite Resources
By Aprill Jones
We love them, that's why we care for them. Even if it means we are on call or on duty every hour of every day. Even if it means sacrifice beyond what we imagined when we said, "Yes, of course." We wouldn't have it any other way. Knowing we can be there when they need us is reward enough.
In a perfect world, that's all true. But it's not a perfect world, and we are only human.
The daily wear and tear of caregiving adds up. As a matter of fact, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 20 hours or more weekly giving care are more likely than others to report loss of sleep, loss of appetite, increased pain and worsened headaches.
In addition, Sybil Ingram-Campbell, BS, MT(ASCP), M, Ed, MBA, PhD. of National Family Caregivers Association warns that the emotional impact of caregiving can include:
- Isolation – Both physical and emotional, as day after day your entire universe is made up of only you and those you care for.
- Depression and exhaustion – Feeling overwhelmed, combined with refusing to ask for help may lead to depression.
- Resentment – When you feel this type of anger, your compassion in caregiving could be eroded.
- Guilt – May result in self-punishment or self-denial when you have this belief of having wronged someone or believing that something you did was horrible.
This is where care for the caregiver – or respite – must come into the picture. When you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone.
Ever notice that people with high level, high stress jobs and careers still manage to make time for themselves, knowing that if they don't, poor job performance and burn out could occur? It's no different for caregivers.
But the hard part may not be admitting the need for rest and respite. It might come from not knowing where to turn for help, not understanding the different roles played by all the different associations, agencies and services.
When searching for respite options, consider making your city, county and state social service agencies your first phone call. Even if you think you will not qualify for specific services, agencies might be able to make referrals to other organizations that can be of assistance.
Refer to the county government listings (blue pages) in your local phone book for information on agencies that may offer direction, such as:
- Health and Human Services Department
- Social Service Department
- Public Health Department
- Social Security Administration
- Medical Board
- Mental Health Department
Senior Centers offer older people a safe environment where they can take part in a range of activities led by trained personnel. Some of these organizations provide respite care, telephone visitors, in-home visitors, nursing home visitors, home health aides, support groups, adult day care, and information and referrals for accessing other services available in the community. Contact the Senior Center nearest you for detailed information.
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