Caring for a loved one is a rewarding experience, but it can also be physically and emotionally draining. It’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves.
Respite care can give family caregivers a much-needed break. It’s available in many forms and is often paid for by Medicaid or Medicare.
It Gives You a Break
It’s important for family caregivers to take time for themselves – not just for their own health and happiness, but also for the sake of their loved ones. Using respite care to do so isn’t selfish and can help to prevent burnout.
Respite care allows you to step away for an afternoon, a weekend or even longer and still have the peace of mind that your loved one is being well cared for. This gives you the opportunity to pursue other interests and spend quality time with your family, friends, or colleagues.
Respite care can be provided by family members or friends who are willing to watch your loved one, or it can be provided through a professional home healthcare agency. Regardless of how it’s delivered, it can be a vital part of your caregiving strategy and make you a better caregiver in the long run.
It Gives Your Loved One a Break
It’s important for family caregivers to recognize that respite care not only benefits them but also helps their loved one. Getting regular breaks preserves their sense of identity outside of caregiving and improves family relationships. Additionally, fresh eyes can often spot changes in health that a primary caregiver who is accustomed to day-to-day activities may miss.
Whether you hire someone privately or through an agency, you should do your homework and screen applicants thoroughly. Ask for references and conduct an in-person interview before hiring anyone to ensure you are getting the best possible care.
Talk to your loved ones about their needs and preferences, especially regarding social activities, meal preparation, medication reminders, and mental stimulation. Depending on their situation, you may be able to find in-home care or adult day programs that are a good fit for them. This type of care is typically less expensive than traditional residential nursing care. It’s also likely to be covered by long-term care insurance or SSI disability benefits.
It Gives You Time to Take Care of Yourself
Caring for a loved one who requires constant care is an all-consuming responsibility that can leave you feeling drained. Respite care allows family caregivers to take time for themselves to recharge, and return to their duties with renewed energy and a more positive attitude.
It may feel daunting to entrust your loved ones to strangers, but respite care is available in many different settings including homes, community programs, group homes, and specialized facilities. In home respite care providers visit your family member in their own environment, familiar with their schedule and where medicine is kept. Group homes and specialized facilities offer a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for your loved one.
Respite care can also provide socialization for your loved ones who may not have a lot of opportunities to interact with people outside their own families. Whether they are in respite care for a day, a week or more, your loved ones will have the opportunity to experience new activities and people, and build relationships with other individuals who enjoy their company.
It Gives You Peace of Mind
Caring for a loved one is a rewarding experience but it can be exhausting. Family caregivers often neglect their own health and wellbeing because they are so focused on providing support to their aging loved ones. This can lead to burnout or a lack of patience which is why respite care is so important.
Getting respite care allows you to step away from your responsibilities without feeling guilty. You can regain your sense of identity as someone other than a caregiver, spend time with friends or explore hobbies you have neglected. This can help you relax and reduce stress which is beneficial for both you and your aging loved one.
Respite care at a residence also gives your loved one the chance to socialize with others, build new relationships and even find out if living there is something they may want to consider long-term. This is a great way to reset their lives and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness which can be very damaging to anyone, especially senior citizens.