Approximately 29 percent of adults in the U.S. (65.7 million people) serve as caregivers for an ill, elderly, or disabled relative.
Are you part of this group? Are you beginning to feel burned out or overwhelmed by your responsibilities?
If you’re struggling with your caregiving responsibilities, you might want to consider looking into respite care.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of respite care for caregivers.
What is Respite Care for Caregivers?
Respite care is merely a short-term or service that allows caregivers to take a break from their everyday duties.
A trained professional (or team of professionals) will come in and take over various aspects of a person’s care so that the caregiver can rest and recharge.
Respite care can last for just a few hours, several days, or even weeks at a time. It can be provided at home or in a fully equipped healthcare facility.
Types of Respite Care
There are several different types of respite care that caregivers can utilize. Some of the most popular forms include:
Companion care is a type of in-home respite care that involves an individual coming over to handle tasks like meal preparation, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and running errands. They can also talk to your loved one, watch TV with them, go for walks with them, and provide general companionship.
Personal Care Assistants
If your loved one requires additional help beyond meal preparation and running errands, you may want to consider hiring a personal care assistant instead.
Personal care assistants assist with all the tasks involved in companion care. They also help with other, more complex tasks, including:
- Medication administration
Some personal care assistants are also certified to help people who struggle with mobility issues.
Adult Day Services
An adult day service is a place you can take your parent or loved one to spend the day while you take a break, run errands, or handle other tasks that are hard to do while also caring for them.
Adult day services provide your parent or loved one with a safe environment in which they can participate in activities, enjoy nutritious meals, and receive health monitoring. Some also offer transportation to and from the facility.
Assisted Living Respite Care
For more long-term care, you might want to look into assisted living respite care. If you need to go out of town for work or on vacation, your parent or loved one can stay at an assisted living facility for a few days or even a few weeks.
At these facilities, they will have access to activities, medical care, and meals. They’ll also be able to spend time interacting with other people their same age.
Benefits of Respite Care for Caregivers
There are lots of reasons you ought to consider respite care. Some of the most significant benefits of respite care for caregivers include:
Take Time to Relax
Everyone needs to take a break from their responsibilities from time to time. And, caregivers are notoriously bad at making time for themselves.
By utilizing respite care, you can have some time to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about your caregiving responsibilities.
You might not realize how stressed out you’ve been until you have a chance to take a break and do something you enjoy, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.
Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is a real thing. When you spend all of your time taking care of a parent or loved one, it’s not uncommon to begin experiencing unpleasant symptoms, including the following:
- Irritability or mood swings
- Social isolation
- A loss of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed
- Appetite or weight changes
- Difficulty sleeping/sleeping too much
- Getting sick more frequently
- Feeling emotionally or physically exhausted
- Relying excessively on alcohol or other drugs
If you’re exhibiting any of these symptoms, there’s a good chance you could benefit from respite care.
Renew Your Sense of Purpose
Sometimes, a break is all you need to renew your sense of purpose and remind yourself why caring for your loved one is so important. By utilizing respite care, you can feel re-energized and more engaged in your caregiving practices.
Maintain Your Sense of Self
When you spend time working as a caregiver, it’s easy for those tasks to become a part of your identity. Sometimes, you get so engrossed in your caregiving responsibilities that you have a hard time separating yourself from them.
If you are beginning to feel like your identity is wrapped up in caregiving, respite care will give you a chance to remember other parts of yourself and engage in some of your other interests. You’re an individual, after all.
Taking time away from your caregiving responsibilities allows you to look at your situation more objectively.
You might be able to identify new ways of providing care for your loved one or find other ways to ensure that you are making the time to meet your own needs as well.
It’s easy to feel isolated as a caregiver. Even though you’re with another person for long periods, if they’re not able to communicate with you, you might start to feel lonely or even depressed.
Respite care can help you combat this by providing you with opportunities to spend time with friends or family and regain a sense of community and connection.
Improve Your Caregiving Abilities
When you take time to do things for yourself, your ability to serve others improves. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
By utilizing respite care, you can come back recharged and better able to provide your loved one with the care they need.
Give Your Loved One a Break
Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that your parent or loved one might need a break or change of scenery, too? Respite care is an excellent option for both parties.
By utilizing adult day centers or assisted living respite care, your loved one can have a chance to spend time with other people their same age while you’re able to rest and recharge. It’s a win-win!