Caring for the elderly could be very different in the not too distant future if you consider the Japanese government's plan to have four out of five care recipients receiving some form of robot assistance by 2020. Though interesting, this strategy is of little comfort if you currently offer respite care to an elderly family member or friend and feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities at time. Don't overlook your own mental health, as your stress levels could arguably diminish your abilities to provide the level of care you no doubt want to give to your loved one.
Caring for an elderly family member or friend requires a commitment that can be both exhaustive, and at times, exhausting. It's crucial that you receive the assistance you need, if only to give you a necessary break on occasion. Have you considered the forms of assistance that might be available?
A Secondary Caregiver
While you are perfectly capable at being the person's primary caregiver, you should consider the need for a secondary caregiver. This can be as straightforward as having a frank discussion with other family members, informing them of the need for assistance. This will entail someone else taking over your duties at set times, giving you time off during the week. While other family members will probably have helped on an ad hoc basis, determining a secondary caregiver (or caregivers) makes the arrangement an ongoing one.
There might be government subsidies available for home assistance, which can again give you a much-needed break. This assistance is administered by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and eligibility is determined by the circumstances of the person requiring care, as opposed to your circumstances. While comprehensive care is available, it can also be a means of obtaining a secondary caregiver to offer in-home care on set days of the week. Eligibility can differ if the person requiring care is an officially recognised veteran and is in possession of a gold or white card as issued by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Day Care for Adults
You could also consider the possibility of therapeutic adult day care, wherein the person requiring care spends time on set days at a specialist centre. Again, it's possible for this to be subsidised if eligibility requirements are met and a service provider can be found in your local area. Private payment for the service is also an option. Knowing that your loved one will be in care for certain periods on certain days also allows you to return to the workforce if this is something you have been considering.
It's important to explore all available avenues for assistance with performing your duties as a caregiver. It's better for you, which can make it better for the person you're caring for too.