Support for Caregivers
Caregiver Life Balance
Finding out someone you know is going to die typically comes as a shock. Their world suddenly changes, and sadness, anxiety, and anger are all common reactions.
Many people, however, view themselves as living with a disease or condition, rather than dying from it.
When one begins hospice or palliative care, they will be receiving care that focuses on helping them live as well as possible, without unnecessary pain.
The quality and extent of support provided to a caregiver and the person nearing end-of-life is imperative to the experience they both have. Caring for someone who is dying is a personal commitment and can be rewarding, as well as challenging. Oftentimes, there is a heavy emotional strain associated with caring for those nearing end-of-life. Caregivers typically experience fatigue, stress, social isolation, and resentment.
Help for Caregivers
We can help you and your family cope with the challenges of serious illness. Your Hummingbird care team will fully explain your plan of care. You will learn how to use medical supplies, how to help your loved one with personal care, and what to do in case of emergency.
If you don’t fully understand anything being explained to you, ask for your nurse or care team member to repeat the instructions. You may need to hear some tips more than once. Make sure you feel comfortable with the skills you are asked to learn. Remember, you are never alone. Call us any time, day or night, at (210) 908-9774.
As caregivers, we sometimes become so involved in the day-to-day efforts to keep things going we may forget to let others know that we need help too. You can and should ask friends and family to share in caregiving duties. Consider creating a list of things that need to be done, such as grocery shopping, laundry, errands, lawn care, or housecleaning. If someone says, “let me know if there is anything I can do,” ask for help with an item on the list.
Go to a doctor’s appointment
However, you choose to take a break, make sure you do it often enough to maintain a healthy balance to address your own needs.
See a movie
Have your hair or nails done
Visit with other friends and family
What to Expect at the End of Life
Our Caregiver Guide addresses many common concerns. It describes the natural changes at the end of life and suggests helpful ways to respond that will support your loved one.
Physical Signs and Symptoms
Emotional Signs and Symptoms
What to Expect Following Death
We hope this booklet helps you prepare as your loved one approaches the end of life. If you need support or guidance, we’re always available. Call us 24 hours a day at 210-908-9774 for additional help.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by the prolonged and overwhelming stress of caregiving. Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, however, it also involves many stressors. Often times the stress from caring for a terminal patient long term can become particularly damaging. It can be particularly upsetting when there is little to no hope that your family member will get better or if their condition gradually deteriorates, despite your best effort.
If caregivers don’t get the physical and emotional support needed, the stress of caregiving can leave you susceptible to depression, anxiety, and eventually burnout. Once you reach that point, both you and the person you’re caring for will suffer. That is why managing the stress levels in your life is just as important as the care you provide to others. No matter how stressful your caregiving responsibilities or how bleak your situation seems, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid caregiver burnout and start to feeling positive and hopeful again.
Caregiver Support Group and Education
Sponsored by the generous donations raised through Wings of Hope, Hummingbird Hospice hosts caregiver support groups and educational workshops to assist with the growing need for support of our carers. Sessions are held virtually via ZOOM. For more information and to register for an upcoming session, please complete the intake form or contact our Mackenzie Anderson, Patient Care Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are experiencing a few, or many of the above feelings, please feel free to contact Hummingbird Hospice for ideas on how to gain support.
Know That You do Need Help
It’s not easy to admit, but we all need help at some point in our lives. And never more so than when we become caregivers. Simply put, caregiving can be exhausting. It also can be too big a job for one person to handle alone, especially if your loved one needs assistance with multiple needs or around-the-clock care.
Know That People Want to Help
For sure, not everyone who kindly offers help actually has the time or commitment to pitch in dependably. However, many do. And others would love to be part of your extended network of as-needed help.
Know What You Need
Take a moment to write down all the things that need to get done, from cooking meals and doing yard work to filling out medical forms and driving to doctor appointments. You want to have concrete things that you need help with.
Know There are Many Ways to Help
Could someone take your loved one on a short walk a few times a week? Could your neighbor pick up a few items at Costco? Offer people a few ways to pitch in. Then let them choose the one that fits best with their schedule and skills.
Know That All Help Isn't Helpful
We’ve all met that lovely person whose idea of assistance doesn’t match our needs. Never is this more problematic than when you’re juggling work, family and caregiving. Simply put, if the effort to accept someone’s help is causing more trouble than it’s worth, politely let it go or point them in another direction. You have enough on your plate as it is.
Know They May Say No
Rejection isn’t fun. However, in the long run an honest “No” may be better for you, your loved one and your relationship with your friend or family member. Accept the fact that some people are going to help and some are not going to be able to help. In either case, it is important to be direct and tell people what you need.
Know That You are Worthy of Being Helped
When it comes to accepting help, put down any guilt or embarrassment you might be carrying around. Realize that taking care of yourself will give you more energy to take care of your loved one.
And the next time someone offers to help you, remember this simple script: “Thank you for the offer. Here’s what you can do.”