CAREGIVERS OF LOVED ONES often start their new role full of energy and ready to do whatever they can. But the physical and emotional load of caregiving is a 24/7 job and can lead to fatigue and caregiver burnout. Although it’s important for caregivers to practice self-care, it’s often difficult for them to take time off because of feelings of guilt or a lack of time. Let’s dive into what respite care is and how to know if you need it.
What Is Respite Care?
Respite care is a professional care service provided to your loved one on a short-term basis, allowing you to have a break, rest, recharge, or attend to other duties.
Sometimes, all you need is extra time to do other things like shopping or household chores. Respite care can fill in for a few hours a day or even more. You may need a bit of time away to de-stress, take a short vacation, or spend quality time with your children, family, and friends.
Respite care is flexible and designed to fill the gaps in the time. For example, respite care can range from part of a day to several days or weeks. It can be provided in several different settings, such as adult day centers, in-home services, assisted living communities, or skilled nursing facilities.
If a caregiver has to work during the day or run errands for a few hours, it helps not to worry about whether their loved one is safe. Read our reviews here.
What are the benefits of respite care services?
- Time to rest and recharge. Respite care provides a reliable, caregiving resource that knows how to handle your loved one’s needs, giving you a much-needed break. It is an opportunity for caregivers to have time to themselves and maintain their sense of identity outside the caregiving role.
- Peace of mind and reduced tension. An older adult who has previously been socially active and suddenly becomes house-bound can quickly become irritable or upset with one family member caregiver. Tensions can mount, making a frustrating situation for everyone involved.
- Domestic help. Caregivers help with simple household chores that older adults may not be able to take on. A caregiver may wash clothing, prepare meals, go grocery shopping, and wash dishes.
- Social interaction. Being with a new person is like having a quick change of scenery. The respite care professional adds valuable social interaction to your loved one’s routine.
- “Testing” senior living environments. Respite care provides a way to check out the community and comfort level in a new environment. When the time comes to decide to move your loved one to another care setting, both of you will be more informed.
Do You Need Respite Care?
The role of a family caregiver is challenging. Caregivers need to take the time they need for personal care before they land in a desperate situation. Caregiver burnout is real, and long-term stress leads to physical and emotional illness.
Respite programs make it possible for caregivers to manage responsibilities while taking care to nurture their physical and emotional health – so they can be more present to look after their needs and the needs of their loved one.