Respite for the Caregiver

Not many years ago my aunt died. I watched over a series of years her health decline. She went from a vibrant, laughing person to being constantly in pain, then suffering immobility to being bed-ridden.

For my uncle, this meant being a caregiver.

Caring for an older parent, friend, or relative can be joyous and enriching. Some view their caregiving as having a spiritual dimension as well. Caregivers can gain wisdom from care recipients as they tell their stories and what they have learned in life. The majority of caregivers gain satisfaction from knowing that their recipients are receiving help remaining in their home or community.

But caregiving can also take a toll as well. The chore of caregiving can exact very tangible physical and emotional aches, pains, and even illness. The stress aspects of caregiving most commonly cited are caring for incontinent care recipients, caring for people suffering from dementia, and giving baths.

Most caregivers also yearn for additional free time. Feeling trapped in a house with limited social engagements demoralizes caregivers as does the feeling they had no choice in the decision to become a caregiver. Routine respite provided by professional caregivers is vital.

Respite care is one form of caregiver assistance. One caregiver receiving respite services writes:

“I had professionals come in once a week for four hours while I went out and tended to grocery shopping and did what I had to do. Four hours is not enough. It’s a mad rush. You come home, you’re just totally wiped out, and then you still have to do your caregiving duties. Four hours twice a week was a godsend. It gives you time to go out, have a leisurely lunch, and maybe go to the library. Do things for yourself. Take your mind off what’s going to be facing you when you get home.”

When seniors begin experiencing disability or illness, they face a host of new concerns. In general, seniors are not used to or comfortable with asking for help. When seniors require caregiving, they must often deal with the grief associated with physical decline, the difficulty of being in pain, and the frustration of being unable to do tasks that were once simple to execute. Seniors may also worry about depleting their financial resources, becoming a burden to their families, or losing their dignity or control over their own care. Seniors needing care fear losing their independence more than anything.

Home by Choice can offer affordable, flexible solutions.

For more information on senior or homebound care, visit or call (765) 361-0600. Home by Choice has offices in Crawfordsville, Frankfort and Lafayette.