What is Respite Care?

Caregiving is tough and requires a large amount of time and energy. However, even as a family caregiver it’s important to take breaks – or in other words, “respite.” Respite Care can help family caregivers by relieving them of their duties temporarily, while ensuring their loved one is receiving safe and professional care. During this time you can take some ‘me’ time. Find out more about what Respite Care is, the types of Respite care available, and why you should use it.

Types of Respite Care

Respite care can be found in several different places, including:

Family and Friends: Don’t be bashful about asking for help. You can reach out to your immediate family, family friends, and also neighbors, local faith groups, and others within your inner circle. Be sure to plan in advance and provide helpful notes for any friends or family members that will be stepping in for a few hours or days.

Professional At-Home Services: Hiring professional caregivers can provide relief as well. There are different kinds of in-home care available including: professional skilled nurses, personal caregivers, home companions, and home makers. Do research on each of these to find what is right for you. Other unpaid caregivers can also provide in-home services. These individuals will often be trained as a part of a local organization that provides this type of service. For more information about professional home services, check out these resources:

Veteran Respite Care:

Respite care for veterans is available through the Geriatrics and Extended care program through the Veterans Administration. You can find more information on this program by clicking here.  For those eligible, this service will pay for a person to come to a veteran’s home or for a veteran to attend a program to give their caregiver a break.

Community Organizations and Facilities: Different services may be available in your community. These programs are available for those in need of constant support. You will find fun activities, therapy, food, and other health-related care options. For example, adult day centers offer relief for those with Alzheimer’s by providing fun art or music programs. Here are some resources to find learn more:

Overlap Services:

When you want to be at home but need a break, use either unpaid or paid providers to provide temporary ‘companion services’ to give you a few hours of relief. This can be very helpful during the holidays.

On-the-Go: If you are traveling with your aging loved one but hope to find some time for yourself, utilize respite services at your destination.

Make Your Own: Not finding a solution you like? Try creating your own network of other caregivers (in similar situations) and create a sharing community where you can schedule time off with each other’s support. This will create larger network to use as a resource.

Why Should I Use Respite Care?

Respite allows you – as the caregiver – to take some time off from caregiving duties. This break could be a few hours here and there to run errands, or a couple of weeks a year to take business trips or vacations. Although the idea is common among caregivers, many don’t take advantage of it.

By engaging in respite care, you will be identifying either family members or paid caregivers to provide temporary care for your aging loved one. By doing so you can:

  • Spend time with other loved ones in your immediate family
  • Get the things you need to get done, done
  • Take time for yourself and RELAX!

Respite provides a much-needed break from the challenges faced by a family caregiver. Make sure to plan in advance even if you are taking just a few hours. Remember to discuss the options with your loved one and make sure they are comfortable with this temporary change. Talk to them when you return and get their feedback.

You deserve a break – look into respite care now and plan for a break tomorrow.