4 Ways a Family Caregiver Can Find Help and Support

Older man high fives his family caregiver.

Being a primary caregiver can be a roller coaster of emotions. It comes with the great highs of seeing your effort make a positive difference in someone’s life, but it also comes with the lows of watching a loved one – and sometimes yourself – decline.

According to AARP, nearly 20% of Americans can relate to this journey of ups and downs, since nearly one in five people are currently providing unpaid care for a loved one dealing with health complications, or aging-associated needs. In addition, over 60% of those caregivers also balance a career on top of their caregiving duties.

There are only so many hours in the day, and as noble as it may be to fully devote yourself to caring for others, it can eventually wear you down. We’re here to tell you that if you start feeling overwhelmed as a primary caregiver, it’s okay to need some help.

The Consequences of Shouldering the Caregiving Load

In the case of family caregivers, many feel it’s their responsibility to look after their loved ones, and they avoid the idea of passing that on to anyone else. As much as your loved one may appreciate the sentiment, ensuring your own well-being should be the first priority.

If you don’t give yourself enough time to rest and enjoy the best parts of your life, burnout will eventually start to creep in.

Burnout can reduce your physical capabilities, such as how attentive you are, how much energy you can muster, or even your physical strength. It can also reduce your social capabilities, such as your attitude towards the person receiving care, which can make you come across as cold and isolate your loved one even more.

You need to be fresh and enjoy your own life before you can improve someone else’s. That means if you feel yourself nearing the point of mental or physical exhaustion, it’s time to start accepting some additional help.

Where to Find Help as a Primary Caregiver

There are plenty of options to explore when it comes to finding some help to get through the caregiving process. Let’s start with the easiest:

1. Friends & Family

Let your friends and family know you’re struggling. Fill them in on the situation and explain where you could really use a hand. It could be anything as simple as asking for help with small timesavers, like organizing a carpool to get your kids to school, to more tangible things that allow you to get out and do things for yourself, like having a friend house-sit with your loved one.

Many of us struggle to ask others for anything but remember, these people are your friends and family for a reason: they care about you.

2. Explore Social Opportunities

If one of your biggest concerns for your loved one is that they’re becoming isolated or not doing things to enjoy themselves, start looking around for local social clubs or other groups that they can get involved with.

Many towns have organizations geared towards providing social opportunities for aging adults like the American Legion, game night clubs, book clubs, and more. While these organizations obviously won’t provide the traditional caregiving services that your loved one may need, they can still do plenty of good for their well-being by providing your loved one with like-minded friends, chances to get out of the house, and meaningful ways to be part of the community.

Establishing a strong social network for your loved one is an easy way to ensure you don’t need to be their only source of human interaction.

3. Rely on Community Resources

Aside from local social clubs, many communities have services dedicated to providing care for aging residents. The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is an example of a government-funded organization that can connect caregivers with a range of helpful resources, such as support groups, transportation assistance, and home health services.

AAA can also help guide you through your eligibility for government-funded programs such as Medicaid or the Older Americans Act. You might also have access to resources like Meals on Wheels, senior centers, and others.

4. Consider Respite Care

Respite care is one of the most popular ways caregivers find temporary relief from their everyday responsibilities. Respite care programs like those offered by SYNERGY HomeCare are incredibly flexible and entirely personalized. You and your loved one can decide exactly how many hours per week you need caregiving services which avoids the cost of having all-day in-home aides.

Many primary caregivers rely on respite care services as a way to find some time for themselves. These programs are readily available, meaning that if you need to slip away for some much-needed you-time, it’s only a phone call away.

At the end of the day, you need to be feeling good to do good. There’s no shame in prioritizing your own needs and there are plenty of outlets that can help you fulfill those needs without leaving your loved one out to dry.

To learn more about how you can utilize a service like SYNERGY HomeCare’s respite care program, please call 877-432-2692.


For more information on caring for a loved one at home, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Family Caregiver Ultimate Guide.

SYNERGY HomeCare offers no obligation home assessments. Find a location near you or Contact us to talk to a Home Care specialist.

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