Let’s face it – the end-of-year holidays can be a pain. No matter how hard you try to juggle shopping, planning, cooking, decorating, gift wrapping, mailing, entertaining, and every other task that comes with the holidays, it can seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And it can be especially demanding when you’re caring for an elderly parent who lives in his or her own home.
As Psychology Today notes, stress like this can lead to “the holiday blues” – depression that comes at the very time in the year when you want to feel your best. The AARP gives some excellent advice to family caregivers on dealing with this condition, including:
- Cut back on your holiday activities. Focus on what’s most meaningful to you and your family, and forget about the rest.
- Plan fewer meals that you normally do, and order out more often.
- Shop online to make gift-giving easier.
Most importantly, the AARP notes that you should ask for help. And there’s a very easy way to do this. It’s called “respite care.”
Many family caregivers aren’t aware that they can hire aides from a home care agency on an ad hoc basis – only when they need them. And the service is surprisingly affordable – typically in the $20-$30 per hour range. For this, you can get a fully trained and certified professional who has plenty of experience helping elderly people in their homes.
That’s why this service is called “respite care” – it gives you the breaks you badly need!
You can get a wide range of services from a home care aide – ranging from simple tasks like light housekeeping and companionship to more complex ones like driving your parent to a doctor’s appointment or religious service. When you do this, you can pay for the service yourself or take advantage of a number of funding options, including health insurance, long-term care insurance, a reverse mortgage, Veterans Administration benefits, and worker’s compensation. If your parent is eligible for the MassHealth Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) program, some agencies can arrange for payment through that program as well.
The point is – the holidays don’t have to be a headache! Instead, you can work with a home care agency to get an extra pair of hands. In so doing, you can take the time you need to enjoy quality time with your family and friends – which is, after all, what the holiday season is for.