When you are taking care of a loved one, especially a beloved parent or a spouse, and juggling other family responsibilities and a job, chances are you put you own needs on the back burner, minimizing their importance. But the fact is that if you don’t take care of yourself and get sick, those under your care could suffer far more than if you were to take a few hours for yourself every week to unwind and recharge. It is easier to do this if you utilize resources that make caregiving more manageable. For instance, hire a care manager to assess your caregiving situation and make recommendations; these might include employing home health aides who can handle some of your caregiving duties. Certain products and services can help by giving you peace of mind. Investigate an emergency response system that alerts a monitoring center when you aren’t there; an intercom or web cam system that allows you to hear or see your loved one from another room; a mobility monitor, which is a small transmitter that can locate a loved one with dementia in case they wander away from home; and telemonitoring services that use the internet and webcams to watch your loved one from a remote location and even remind them to take medicine or eat a meal. Sharing your responsibilities is not shirking them. You and your family will be the better for it.
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