Respite Care: Self-Health isn’t Selfish
Providing care for a loved one can become quite grueling for both the family caregiver and the patient. Caregivers may find themselves feeling burned out from the stress of consistent assistance, often falling into troubling sleeping patterns and neglecting their own self-care. Respite Care provides a mutually beneficial third-party resource for caregiver and patient, in which additional short-term assistance is made available in forms such as adult day centers, in-home care and counseling services, or as recovery from a hospital stay. It’s clear that a family caregiver is only as effective as his or her own self-health, and as the emotional weight of an aging loved one persists, taking a break to relax and recalibrate becomes invaluable.
Where to Find Respite Care?
Short-term stays at assisted living or nursing facilities, along with additional information including webinars and Medicaid/Medicare assistance can be found at the ARCH National Respite Network’s Respite Locator: https://archrespite.org/us-map. By simply entering the age of the patient, along with the State, Zip Code, and preferred mile radius, you will find plenty of Respite options at your fingertips.
Respite care can take place in a variety of settings including:
- In-Home Caregiving
- Assisted Living Stay
- Informal family respite
- Adult day care centers
What does Respite Care Provide?
Respite can cover a wide range of services based on the unique needs of the caregiver. It might involve medical or social adult day care and/or a short-term stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility for the loved one; a home health aide or home health companion; a private duty nurse or adult foster care.
For the caregiver, personal respite varies as much as the individual and could mean, for example: giving the caregiver a short break to attend a doctor’s appointment or to go shopping; allowing the caregiver the opportunity to nap, bathe, or otherwise rejuvenate him or herself; attending a church service or seeing a movie; taking a much-needed vacation; pampering oneself with a hair appointment or manicure; scheduling elective surgery, or simply visiting friends or relatives.
Respite care amenities may vary by community but will typically provide 24-hour supervision, bathing assistance, meals, and medication management. This resource can be for an afternoon or up to a couple of weeks.
How to Determine if Respite Care Right for You
- You are physically or emotionally exhausted
- Your relationships are struggling
- You would like to attend an important or required life event
- You are ill and need time to recover
- You miss quality time with your loved one
- You are becoming irritable and impatient
- No free time
- You have resentment toward other family members who could be doing more to help
- Your social life is suffering
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a good idea for you to consider respite care to help relieve some of your daily stress.
Who is Eligible for Respite?
Anyone caring for a friend, family member, or neighbor is eligible for respite. Some organizations provide respite for specific populations like children with disabilities or older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. However, every caregiver owes it to him or herself to seek out and accept respite.
What are the benefits of Respite Care?
Respite care provides the necessary perspective into the reality of a caregiving situation. The emotional and physical toll of caring for a loved one can never be overlooked. Maintaining a special connection against the persistence of relentless dementia is profoundly draining. As a caregiver finds their own lives changing and slipping away from them, the quality of care often dwindles, as exhaustion and frustration can start to damage this relationship in the last couple of years they have together.
Access to Respite as a temporary resource allows the caregiver to simply get back to their own lives for some time. From simple sleep and relaxation to going out with friends or running errands, this bit of freedom is a way to recharge the batteries and reassess the balance necessary to maintain their own self-health.
It’s hard to acknowledge that family caregiving is often a necessary undertaking in which all parties involved wished it wasn’t necessary. Respite provides a valuable outlet for the guilt a caregiver is prone to feel when they stop and think about themselves in these troubling times. The assistance of Respite care can assure that the threshold of caregiving remains an active task to help a loved one in their final years, as opposed to a burden.