Family Caregivers, Burnout & Respite

By: Comfort Keepers®

This month is National Family Caregivers Month and serves as a time to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of family caregivers far and near. Unfortunately, as the senior population is projected to increase in the following years, the number of eligible family caregivers is declining.  According to AARP, the ratio of caregivers to individuals over the age of 80 will decline from 7:1 in 2010, 4:1 by 2030 and 3:1 by 2050.

More and more seniors and their families are turning to in-home care compared to nursing homes or retirement facilities, but the added care from family members is resulting in caregiver burnout. Family caregivers can benefit from a little break every now and then, and it’s so important to incorporate respite care into the role for family caregivers.

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Find A Stress Reliever that Works For You

Senior caregiving can be demanding, and juggling caregiving and your family’s schedule can create added stress and fatigue. Families want to provide an improved living condition to help increase a senior’s quality of life, but they often forget about their own health in the process. In order to deliver the best results, you have to perform at your best. Find a stress reliever that works best for you. There are many methods to finding some alone time for yourself in order to decompress. Call on other family members for support, hire an in-home care provider to check on your mother or father for a few hours a day, take the time to unwind in a book, music, yoga, meditation or any other method you enjoy doing. If the stress is still too much to handle, schedule a doctor’s appointment for consultation.

Look at the Cost

Making a profound change in your life can cause a lot of stress, and one of these could be from new financial expenses. AARP has estimated more than 42 million unpaid family caregivers exist in the United States, and family caregivers over the age of 50 who leave the workforce to care for a parent lose nearly $304,000 in wages and benefits in their lifetime. These costs can come from acquiring an additional person in your household, doctor and hospital fees, home renovations and so much more. Becoming a family caregiver is a decision that needs to be fully analyzed. Determine if your family can afford to be family caregivers, compare in-home respite care services and their cost, and research the benefits you can receive based on your insurance.

Know Your Limits

Finally, family caregivers often set a high expectation. Know your limits and create a respite care plan to accommodate. Snapping at everyone and going through a roller coaster of emotions is normal, however it does not benefit anyone. Start to work the problem and not let the problem work you. Lay out your family’s schedule. Where are the peek stressful times in the day? Consider creating a community at Lotsa Helping Hands. Friends, neighbors and coworkers can sign up for tasks on your calendar, from spending time with your senior as you run errands, to perform housekeeping chores or taking your children to soccer practice, having extra hands from your community can truly help.

We don’t suggest taking a month vacation, but learn to set aside some time for friends, spouses and family. Even if you have set the expectation of serving as the leading caregiver in the family, the weight should not all be placed on your shoulders. Take time out for yourself. The additional time in your day-to-day schedule can make the difference in the amount of stress in your life. To learn more about Comfort Keepers® respite care services, visit us online at

Comfort Keepers is a leading franchise network in the in-home care market for seniors and other adults needing care. Since its founding in 1998, the company has grown to more than 700 franchised locations around the world by staying true to the founders’ goal of providing in-home care services that allow clients the opportunity to age in place. In August of 2009, the brand was strengthened even further by the purchase of the franchisor, CK Franchising, Inc., by Sodexo, one of the world’s leading food and facilities management services companies and the global leader in the health care and seniors markets. For more information, visit