Did you know that there are nearly 7.8 million unpaid caregivers in Canada? Though caregiving can feel like a lonely journey at times, if you’re looking after an aging adult or a loved one living with a disability, you are most definitely not alone. As rewarding as caring for a loved one can be, it’s also a challenging role and can take a toll on your physical and mental health. As someone who supports others, prioritizing your well-being is equally important. By practicing self-care and seeking out caregiver support services, you’ll develop important caregiver relief strategies to remain happy, healthy and fulfilled in your caregiving role.

Understanding Caregiving StressStressed looking African American man with beard.

As you dedicate yourself to serving others, commitment to self-care and respite should also remain a priority. Fatigue, irritability, or feelings of overwhelm are all early signs of caregiver burnout. But by taking steps early and often to manage your caregiver stress, you can minimize the negative impact to your own well-being and to those around you.

Caregiver Support:

Self Care Strategies When Supporting a Loved One with Physical or Cognitive Challenges Such as Dementia

Manage stress, find moments of respite, and focus on self-care by using some or all of these caregiver relief strategies.

  • Practice self-care: incorporate simple self-care practices into your daily routine whether it’s reading, taking short walks outside or doing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing or other relaxing activities such as yoga to help manage stress and promote inner calm.
  • Take breaks and find joy in the little things: short moments of pause may seem like an unnecessary “treat” but five, 10 or 15 minutes to focus your mind on something you love—whether it’s cooking, practicing your golf swing or watching your favourite show, can leave you feeling re-energized and more positive.
  • Don’t go it alone: whether you talk with friends and family about your emotional journey, or seek out more formal help from caregiver peer support groups, such as the alzheimer society, a counsellor or a spiritual leader, opening up to others, sharing and socializing with others can help you cope better, feel more connected and ultimately avoid feeling isolated.
  • Ask for help when needed and recognize your limits. Caregivers often shy away from vague offers from others to help out. Make it easy for would-be helpers by being specific about your needs—whether it’s transportation for an appointment, sending a family member out to run errands or asking a neighbour to mow the lawn.
  • Seek outside support. Depending on your location, needs and income level subsidized respite care may be available including: friendly visiting, adult day programs and overnight relief programming. HCSS Grey-Bruce currently provides all three options.

Services for Caregivers: Adult Day Programs

Seniors painting at Adult Day Program as a form of caregiver relief.

HCSS’s Day-Away Program provides fun, safe, inclusive activities and gives caregivers a break.

Adult Day Programs or ADPs give caregivers essential relief and support, by providing fun activities and care to people living with physical disability and/or who have cognitive challenges caused by dementia, stroke, or other health challenges. This program is designed to assist you in your caregiving journey and ensure you receive the help you deserve.

Adult day programs at HCSS Grey-Bruce are known as “Day Away,” and are staffed with nurses, personal support workers and other trained and vetted volunteers who create a dynamic and engaging environment for participants—helping them to connect, enjoy a variety of fun activities and also get some essential care from a qualified health professional.

HCSS Day Away Locations in Grey Bruce:

HCSS Grey-Bruce operates several subsidized ADPs throughout the area including programs in:

  • Owen Sound
  • Shoreline
  • Bruce Peninsula
  • North Grey
  • East Grey
  • Saugeen Central

For an additional cost, participants can also be picked up and dropped off by HCSS’s accessible and friendly transportation services.

Benefits of Adult Day Respite Programs:

Adult day respite programs are incredibly helpful to caregivers and their loved ones alike because they provide:

  • Flexible respite options: ADP offers various respite options to suit your needs, allowing you to take a break when needed to rest, recharge or run errands.
  • Professional support by trained staff—Giving you the peace of mind you need to ensure your loved one is safe and in good hands. Access trained professionals through the ADP Respite Program who can provide care and support to your loved ones.
  • A fun, social and stimulating environment for your loved one, to brighten their day and help them maintain physical and cognitive function as much as possible.
  • Reasonable fees—Many programs, including those hosted by HCSS Grey-Bruce are subsidized through government and other funding, making them relatively affordable compared to other private care options.

Benefits of an Overnight Relief Program:

Overnight relief or respite is an invaluable service that gives you uninterrupted rest and rejuvenation needed, to continue providing exceptional care as a caregiver.HCSS Grey-Bruce provides this important service in Owen Sound and Hanover.

Though you may be nervous about leaving a loved one overnight, a trained and caring professional can help ease your worry and give you a rare chance to recharge and destress.

The Case for Caregiver Relief:

Whether it’s taking short breaks, practicing relaxation techniques, or seeking support from others, managing stress is vital for your well-being as a caregiver. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish; it’s a necessary step to helping you in your important role of providing quality care to others. Just like a tree needs water to grow, you need time to recharge and care for yourself.

Take a deep breath, embrace the support available to you, and prioritize your own well-being. With respite programs like HCSS’s Day Away and Overnight Respite, you can find moments of peace and rejuvenation in the midst of one of life’s most selfless and important roles.