Everybody needs a break sometimes, especially if you find yourself in the position of being directly responsible for someone else’s wellbeing. Respite care exists to give primary caregivers some time to relax or focus on their own needs. If you are curious about respite care, contact the Merryvale community to learn more.
What is a Primary Caregiver?
A primary caregiver is a person who is responsible for the care and wellbeing of another person who cannot properly care for themselves on their own. For example, a parent can be considered the primary caregiver for their child and will be responsible for ensuring their needs are met. Someone caring for an aging family member is another form of being a primary caregiver as well.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is a form of short-term substitute care that provides temporary relief for primary caregivers. Respite care allows primary caregivers to have a break from their duties of caregiving and tend to personal matters in their own life. A primary caregiver may want to use respite care to simply take some time to relax and destress every once in a while or may use respite care regularly to allow them to work and tend to other responsibilities. Respite care is meant to allow caregivers the opportunity to achieve balance in their life, and gain some repose after long periods of looking after somebody.
Services Included With Respite Care
Services provided by respite care workers can vary and will depend on the specific needs of the individual being looked after. Some services include:
- Supervision and Companionship: If the person being cared for is high-functioning, but there is a concern about leaving them home alone, respite care can provide supervision and companion services as a solution.
- Activities of Daily Living: Activities of daily living (ADLs) can be described as the essential tasks that one must accomplish each day (i.e. dressing, bathing, and eating). ADL assistance is a standard service offered by almost all respite care providers.
- Basic Medical Care: Almost all respite care providers are equipped to handle basic medical care. If the one being cared for requires more intensive medical care beyond the basics, be sure that you work with a provider with more advanced medical training.
- Household Tasks: Respite care workers can help with completing basic household tasks like laundry, shopping, and cleaning.
- Transportation: Some respite care workers can provide transportation to help the one being cared for get to appointments or run necessary errands.
- Meals: Respite care providers can prepare meals and assist the one being cared for while they eat.
- Personal Attention: When provided in a home, respite care is one-on-one between the senior and caregiver. The attention of the respite care worker will not be divided.
Types of Respite Care
Just like the services that will be required from respite care, the types of respite care available should be chosen based on the specific needs of the individual being cared for. Informal respite care from a friend or family member may be enough respite for the primary caregiver, but in other cases, professional respite care may be required.
These care centers provide daytime caregiving services to seniors whose caregivers need to work outside of the home, seniors who would otherwise be isolated and want socialization, and others. Typically, a senior will spend six to eight hours at an adult daycare, eating lunch and enjoying a variety of activities. The centers provide a safe environment for seniors to spend time with friends, receive personal care services, and engage in different activities.
Professional In-Home Care
A family or primary caregiver can work with professional in-home caregivers to provide respite care in a senior’s home. In-home caregivers can provide care on an as-needed basis or a scheduled cadence, like a few days per week. Like adult daycare, in-home respite care can be a solution for caregivers who also work outside of the home and do not want to leave their elderly loved ones at home alone.
Residential Respite Care
Some senior residential communities offer short-term overnight services. In some long-term care facilities, a specific number of beds is set aside exclusively for short-term respite stays. This option can be a great stress-reliever for caregivers who are traveling out of town, or are going to be completely occupied for some time and want to ensure the person they are caring for always has assistance available to them. Not all residential care communities offer respite though, so be sure to plan ahead.
The Importance of Respite Care
Caregiving can be rewarding but it comes with its own set of challenges and difficulties. Depending on your situation and your schedule, using respite services may be necessary when your schedule becomes hectic or to bring more balance to your life. Some benefits of respite care for caregivers include:
- Caregivers get a much-deserved break: Being a primary caregiver is a demanding position, and everyone needs to take a break sometimes. Respite care can offer relief from caregiving duties while still maintaining your important role of primary caregiver for someone.
- Respite care can provide important assistance in an emergency: If you are a primary caregiver for someone, an unexpected event that requires you to leave the house can cause major stress. Respite care can be an extremely effective solution for when other obligations come up and they require your full attention.
- Respite care is one of the most flexible senior care options: Respite care can be used on an as-needed basis. While planning ahead is still required to plan to arrange timing with the provider, respite care allows caregivers to take some time off when they need to. The flexibility of respite care makes it simple to find a provider and setting that works for you and the person you are caring for.
Is Respite Care Right for You?
Allowing someone else to step in as a caregiver can be a significantly big decision to make. To determine if you could benefit from respite, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel emotionally and physically drained regularly?
- Are you concerned that in the event of an emergency there is no one that you trust to take care of your loved one?
- Do you find yourself becoming more agitated with things that previously never bothered you?
- Are you neglecting your own health-related needs due to lack of time or lack of desire to assess your own needs?
- Are you experiencing resentment toward other family members who could help you but don’t?
- Is your social life suffering?
- Is there an unusual change in your eating habits?
- Do you have feelings of helplessness?
- Have you been resorting to self-soothing habits like smoking, gambling, or drinking?