We’ve been telling you for weeks now – summertime is vacation time. A staggering number of American workers do not take their vacation time, leading to burnout, stress and other negative consequences on their physical and emotional health. This is a well-recognized problem in the healthcare industry, as well as among employers and workers.
Meanwhile, around 44 million American adults carry the job responsibilities of unpaid caregiver for aging or disabled loved ones. Often, these caregivers have other significant responsibilities, such as children in the home or careers. They are thrust into the caregiving role, sometimes without training or preparation. The responsibilities are overwhelming and never ending. Caregivers are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, increased health problems, lower levels of self-care, and ultimately higher mortality.
It stands to reason that if paid workers benefit from using vacation time, unpaid caregivers also benefit from time away as well. If paid employees who take vacation time do better work with less frustration, then unpaid caregivers who take vacation not only benefit themselves, but also those in their care.
How to get away when you’re a caregiver?
- Plan well. Begin making plans, allowing plenty of time to make arrangements for a loved one’s care, ensure work affairs are in order and accomplish all the many other items folks planning a vacation must do.
- Communicate well. Communicate clearly with a loved one about the trip, depending upon his or her ability to remember and understand. While communication is key, keep in mind that timing is everything. Don’t wait until the last minute, but also avoid communicating plans too far in advance or it may increase anxiety, find that perfect midway point to communicate information about the trip. Also, communicate clearly the time of return.
- Ask for help. When planning vacation, and every day before and after, there is no shame in asking for help. Maybe a family member can lend a hand or hire help for specific jobs. No one person can or should be responsible for everything.
- Consider professional help. Every caregiver faces the knowledge that they may need professional assistance with their loved one. Whether it be for a brief respite period or for skilled round-the-clock care, make the decision with confidence by contacting AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis. We are proud to meet each of our patients’ unique needs.
Caregiver, it is time to seriously consider the need for relaxation and refreshment. AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis would be pleased to meet with you and evaluate your needs. Together, we can create a plan to provide high-quality care for your loved one, while you get a well-deserved break.