Like an oasis in the middle of a dry desert, respite care can be a lifesaver for caregivers and their families. Respite care promotes better health (even if it’s in the form of a good night’s sleep), but you may not be aware of what it is and how it can be a benefit to you and the loved one under your care.
Read on to learn about how respite care can help your family and contribute to better well-being for you and the person you’re caring for.
Respite care is a term used to describe a short break for caregivers. Many people feel strongly that their sick or disabled loved ones ought to be their responsibility. The choice to provide care for them is one of the most loving gestures a person can make – but providing around-the-clock care for a person can wear on a person.
According to Caregiver.org, 40%-70% of caregivers have significant depression. Physical strain is another risk, with 17% of caregivers saying that their health has become worse as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. Long-term care (5 years or more of ongoing care) can result in even worse health.
Respite care was born from a desire to help caregivers take time to care for themselves. Whether you set up respite care for a few hours, a day, a few days, or for weeks, respite care is here to help ensure that your loved one is cared for while you take a much-needed break. Once you’ve been refreshed, you’ll be better equipped to help your loved one again.
Respite care services can take place in-home and can be paid or voluntary. You can choose to work with an agency or ask community organizations for referrals. The type of care depends on which services you choose. Out-of-home respite care can take place in residential program, respite camps, or adult daycare centers.
Some of the tasks respite care providers can do (depending on the type/level of expertise) include:
• Administering medication
• Encouraging exercise/physical therapy
• Helping them enjoy the outdoors
• Transfering (in/out of bed, wheelchair, etc)
• Making meals
• Caring for medical needs
Even if you insisted on caring for the special person in your life who’s battling an illness or has a disability, it can be disheartening to feel that no one else is willing to be engaged in their care.
Talking with family and friends about your loved one’s care is important – so be open and honest with them when you feel like you could use a hand. Although it’s fantastic to utilize an agency or provider, your family should have some level of involvement as well.
Seeking respite care may be the first step to opening these conversations with your family. Be sure to mention the benefits of respite care (for both yourself and your loved one).
Here are some of the benefits of using respite care services:
Time to rest. We underestimate the effect rest has on our well-being until we no longer have it. Rest can improve your mood, help your body function better, and lower blood pressure. Be sure to rest – it will make a huge difference.
• Interaction with others. Feelings of isolation are common in caregivers, with one in five saying they feel alone. Whether you choose to join an art class, spend time at church, or have dinner with friends, you need community.
• Be healthy. When we take care of others, we tend to neglect ourselves. It’s important to make sure you’re staying healthy so you can regain the energy you need to keep going. Feel free to join a weight loss group or get a gym membership to keep up with your health goals during this time.
• Remember who you are. It’s easy to get lost in the identity of the person you’re caring for. After all, your life has revolved around them for so long that you might not remember who you are. Remember to do small things you enjoy – little reminders of your identity.
• Perspective and support. We all need to step away sometimes. Doing this will help you see the situation better, which in turn will have an impact on how you care for your loved one. Support is a huge help, and having another person you can bring your questions to will show you that you’re not alone.
• Better care for your loved one. When you are at your best, you’re equipped to help your loved one too. The time you take for a break will overflow into more positive interactions between you, along with better solutions as you work toward a better quality of life for you both.
You clearly love the person you’re caring for. You have chosen to be there for them during one of the most difficult times of their life. That doesn’t mean you don’t have needs too. Take a well-deserved break and entrust your loved one to Arbors of Ohio.
We come from a long history of caregivers who have put others’ needs before our own, and we are honored to have the opportunity to care for you and your family during this time. Visit your local Arbors of Ohio facility or contact us to learn more about our respite care options.
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