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What Is Respite Care and Do You Need It?

By Ruby Cemental

Family caregivers often dive head first into their new role, full of energy and ready to do everything they can for their loved one. However, caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding, and new caregivers eventually find themselves wondering what respite care is. Let's explore what respite care is and how to know if you need it. 

What Is Respite Care?

Simply put, respite care is temporary care provided to your loved one that allows you to have a short break from your care-giving duties while a professional caregiver takes your place. It can last as long as you need it to: a few hours or a month. It just depends on your preference.

Benefits for the Caregiver

Free time: Sometimes, all you need is just a little time to do other things like shopping or chores for your own household, and respite care professionals can fill in for you for a few hour or more. On other occasions, you may need additional time away to de-stress, take a short vacation, or spend quality time with your own children.

Flexibility: Respite care is flexible care designed to fill the gaps in the time you can personally spend attending to the needs of your loved one.

Refreshing: Rather than thinking of respite care as a last resort in a desperate situation, it is wise to take advantage of the benefits of respite care long before you reach the end of your rope. Remember that increased stress leads to physical and emotional illness. Respite care can help you prevent getting to that point by allowing you time to look after your needs as well as those of your loved one.

Benefits for the Senior

Though many people think of respite care as being of most benefit to the caregiver, it is also of great value to the one for whom you care.

Reduce tension: Often when an elderly person who has previously been socially active is suddenly house-bound, it is easy for them to become irritable or upset with one primary caregiver. Tensions and frustration can mount, making for an unpleasant situation for everyone involved.

Social interaction: Taking the opportunities afforded by regularly scheduling in-home respite care professionals to visit and provide care allows your loved one to interact with someone besides you. Even though they are still house-bound, being with another person is like having a brief change of scenery. The one receiving care and adds valuable social interaction to your loved one's routine.

Additional experience: Professional caregivers are also trained and experienced in common conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, COPD, and other ailments. Bringing in respite care can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved one is being cared for properly. 

Domestic help: In-home respite caregivers often help with simple household chores that an elderly person or their loved ones may not be able to take on by themselves. For example, a caregiver may wash clothing, go grocery shopping and prepare meals,and wash dishes.

Do You Need Respite Care?

Here are some signs that might indicate that you are ready for a caregiving break. 

Your loved one's needs are increasing

Often, caregiving begins slowly. At first, your loved one may have only needed a little bit of assistance such as help picking up around the house. Now, your loved one needs around-the-clock care, and you are finding it hard to keep up with their needs along with your other responsibilities. When this happens, the stress load increase is so gradual that you don't notice until it is severe. Respite care services help you reduce your work load so that you can begin to relax.

Your health is affected

Family caregivers are known for sacrificing their needs to take care of someone else's. Unfortunately, this often leads to missed health screenings and exams that are essential for maintaining your health. Over time, this can lead to physical ailments that interfere with caregiving. Respite care is a solution for giving your loved one professional care while you take care of your health needs. Visit the doctor, workout at the gym or just take a walk during that time so you are physically prepared to take care of your loved one.

Caregiver burnout happens all too often, especially when a person's daily responsibilities begin to interfere with their mental and physical health. We can help you arrange for the best type of respite care to fit your needs, so contact us today to begin benefiting from professional relief.

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Ruby Cemental Blog Author

Tags: Respite Care

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