Family caregivers have to do it all. They take care of their own families, their careers and an aging parent. Add in the stress of the holidays as enjoyable as they might be, and you have a recipe for a breakdown. Respite care can be the answer you’re looking for.
What is Respite Care?
This service allows the primary caregiver a break for a few hours at a time from caring for their loved one. The respite caregiver sits with the elderly person and provides for their basic needs while the family member runs errands or just takes a break.
Respite care is often part of a home health care program. For terminal patients, hospice may also provide this service. In addition, other companies and services offer respite care as part of their program.
How Respite Care Helps the Caregiver
The caregiver can take a break and relax, allowing their body and mind to rest. This may mean a nap or just a few hours out. They may go for a walk or even take in a movie or other activity that allows them to feel calm and quiet.
Once the caregiver returns home they often feel more energized. The time away gives them space to think over the situation. They may even come to a conclusion about a problem. The caregiver often feels a new sense of purpose in caring for their loved one.
Many times, the caregiver chooses to meet up with friends for lunch or other activity. This time allows them to enjoy socialization which is often set aside for their other duties. It also gives them a sense of self which may be missing as they see themselves simply as a family caregiver.
Respite care can reduce the stress the caregiver faces on a daily basis. They have the opportunity to take care of errands and appointments they may be unable to manage otherwise. The caregiver may see their own doctor or work out at the gym to maintain their own health.
How to Find Respite Care
You’ll often find respite care services tied in with home health care. However, you can find it through community resources, churches and other organizations. You may even find some assisted living centers that provide day care or even overnight care for the elderly.
Some senior programs even offer volunteer respite help. You can usually ask a medical care provider or assisted living community and they can tell you what resources are available.
Talking to Your Loved One about Respite Care
Some seniors may not like the idea of having a stranger come in and take care of them. Many times, the agency allows the person to help out with housework or laundry rather than just sitting with the person until the family member gets to know them.
You may start out just going into a different part of the house until your family member feels comfortable enough with you leaving. For those with dementia the process may be more complex. However, the benefits of respite care are worth any of the challenges.
If your loved one needs more than overnight care during these long winter months, you can visit Daystar to find out about our Winter Program. Your loved one would be safe in our care, allowing you to focus on your other priorities until warmer weather.