Labor Day is more than just an annual holiday that marks the end of summer. The original intent behind creating this federal holiday was to honor "the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country." And who are the often overlooked workers that need to be included in the celebrations this year? Caregivers of aging parents.
Family caregivers are typically underappreciated and underpaid. In fact, according to data collected by the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are approximately 34.2 million people in America currently providing unpaid care to aging parents. The economic value of these services was found to total nearly $470 billion in 2013, and that number is expected to rise in coming years.
As someone caring for elderly parents, you can’t ever really take a day off...or can you? Here are some reasons why you should consider taking a break this Labor Day:
Caregiver Burnout Is Real
When you are caring for elderly parents on a regular basis, you run the risk of developing caregiver burnout if you don’t take time to recharge your batteries from time to time. Burnout can manifest itself in different ways, according to WebMd, including:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Increased irritability and anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Lowered immune system; getting sick more often
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
Caregiver burnout affects both your physical and emotional health, and can even lead to strained relationships with a spouse or close friends. But there is hope: caregiver burnout can be prevented by creating boundaries and carving out more time for yourself.
Practicing Self Care Can Help You Recharge
Self-care for caregivers is so important for your ability to care for aging parents over an extended period of time. Indulging in some “me-time,” whether that’s a long weekend at a bed and breakfast, a quiet hour to read a book, a commitment to exercising regularly or even just a warm bath at the end of a long day can help preserve your mental and emotional health when caring for elderly parents.
WebMd sums it up nicely, by reminding caregivers that “taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity if you're going to be an effective caregiver.”
You Can Enlist Help
Many caregivers feel as though they cannot take a day off because no one else will be there to care for their aging parents. Caregivers tend to think that no one else can care for your parents with the same love and attention that you provide, but there are plenty of options for you to consider in order to take some much-deserved time to yourself:
- Respite Care. Many assisted living facilities provide respite care as an added service for caregivers who need to take a break. The benefit of respite care is the ability to receive round-the-clock care, however, many older adults might feel uncomfortable leaving their homes to receive care for an extended period of time.
- In-Home Care. With more and more people choosing to age at home, in-home care has become an increasingly popular choice for aging seniors. Although this type of care can get expensive, reputable in-home care agencies, such as Griswold Home Care, vet all of their caregivers ahead of time to ensure that your loved ones will be safe and well-cared for under their supervision.
- Medical Guardian. A medical alert system is the most cost-effective way to ensure your loved one’s protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A medical alert device provides aging parents with the autonomy they desire and the protection you need in order to feel comfortable taking time for yourself. Round-the-clock responsive monitoring can help you sleep soundly at night, knowing that your loved one will have immediate access to help should an emergency occur. And now, with Medical Guardian’s newest product, the Family Guardian, caregivers can also access information about their parent’s well-being through a smartphone app.
Our Labor Day Gift For You
Since self-care for caregivers is so important, we are encouraging you to take more time to yourself this Labor Day with this special deal: Receive a $25 Amazon gift card when you purchase an annual plan for any Medical Guardian medical alert system. Call 1800-668-9200 or order online using promo code LDAY17 to take advantage of this great offer for your aging parents (and your peace of mind!).