Every family chooses to care for an aging loved one in a different way. Some might choose to get in-home health services so that their loved one can continue with their day-to-day tasks safely. Others might decide that their loved one needs additional care, and send them to a nursing home. Still others might have a loved one come live with them or might spend a large portion of the day caring for them. If you care for your loved one, this can take its toll on you over time. As much as you love your family, you might need a break from the constant care that you provide. If this is the case, you can seek respite care to give both you and your loved one a break, and come back rejuvenated and ready to continue the care process.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is a short-term care option for those who care for an elderly loved one regularly. Caregiving, while a rewarding experience, can be both mentally and physically draining. It can become frustrating and stressful to constantly care for someone else, no matter how much you love them. Taking a break can relieve stress and help you to establish a healthy balance in your life. Remember – you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your loved one. A brief break can give you what you need to continue caring for your loved one. If you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or isolated, respite might be a good option for you. In addition, anticipating regular time periods where you can take a break can be helpful to the long-term care process.
Respite care means getting support for yourself and having someone else take on some of the responsibility of caring for your loved one. If you think that respite care is right for your family, you should start thinking about the specific needs of your loved one. Consider the type of care you are seeking, the frequency of this care, and where it should take place (in-home or outside of the home). Consider what you need help with most. Do you just need some free time to restore your energy? Do you need help transporting your loved one on a regular basis? Or, do you need help assisting your loved one with every day tasks? Consider your daily activities and the areas where you can use some help. This list can help you determine the kind of respite care to seek.
Respite Care Examples
As I mentioned, you can get in-home or out of home respite care. A few examples of in home respite care include:
- Informal relief and support from other members of your family. For example, if you are caring for your mother, and you have a few siblings, you can rotate weeks that you spend with her between your siblings, so that everyone shares this responsibility equally.
- Caregiver communities that are available online. You can seek support and get information through these communities.
- Companionship, either paid or volunteer.
- Personal health care assistance from someone such as a home health aide.
Out of home respite care options include:
- Adult day care programs. You can drop your loved one off during the day and have someone else help them while you have a few hours to yourself.
- Residential respite care. This is a care option for short periods of time.
- Caregiver support groups. Similar to the online option, there are caregiver support groups that meet in person that you can seek out.
This page is meant to be an introduction to respite care. If you think that this is a good option for you and your family, consider seeking out one of these care options.