Overcoming Barriers to Respite

Caregivers can undergo a large amount of physical and emotional stress. The stress often includes feelings of being overwhelmed, abandonment, irritation and anger, and losing interest in outside activities.

We believe small acts of self-care can bolster caregivers’ mental and physical states, making them not only healthier but also more helpful to their loved ones. Short, consistent breaks can help caregivers feel more empowered and in control of their lives.
At Hope Grows, the word “empowerment” resonates deeply with what we do for family caregivers. We provide training, tools, resources, and guidance to caregivers. Part of our mission is to encourage caregivers to seek wellness of the mind, body, and spirit. The other part of our mission is to inspire hope through nature.

One way we want caregivers to empower themselves is by engaging in therapeutic respite. However, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 85% of caregivers do not participate in respite, although it is highly requested by family caregivers. Empowerment includes breaking down the barriers that caregivers have to accessing respite.

•Recognize Your Value – Allow yourself to know you deserve time for respite, reflection and rest.
•Let Go of Guilt – Living in the present, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, leads to empowerment. Acknowledge the guilt you may feel, and move past it.
•Know Yourself – List some activities that truly bring you joy and peace. Then build regular time into your schedule for them.

For some caregivers, though, empowerment is not enough. We’ve realized over the years that caregivers often struggle to take a break for respite care and support groups. Generally, factors that impede the ability to access respite are out of the control of the caregiver. Those can include financial hardship, difficulty finding replacement care, respite opportunities, transportation, and many other social reasons.
We created ThinkCaregiver™ as a way to transcend these barriers and reach caregivers. ThinkCaregiver™ is a free phone program that allows caregivers to take a short break and talk to one of our trained individuals, from their homes.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Hope Grows, they can be reached at 412-369-4673, by email at info@hopegrows.net, or by visiting www.hopegrows.net.