The Benefits of Respite Care for Caregivers
Caring for an elderly parent can take a toll on an adult child. No matter how much you love your parent, the fact is, everyone needs a break now and then.
While you may feel guilty about leaving your loved one for any amount of time, the truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself, it is going to be impossible for you to take care of anyone else. It is for this reason that respite care is so important.
Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. Whether for an afternoon, a weekend or even longer, respite care provides a break to those caring for an elderly loved one. No matter what level of care you provide for your parent, stress, fatigue and even anxiety can set in. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that there is relief in the form of respite care.
One of the best things about respite care is that it is so flexible. It can be employed on a regular or as-needed basis and will give you the peace of mind knowing your loved one is being cared for while you take some much needed (and deserved) time for yourself.
In-home respite care provides companionship and ensures that a senior citizen is safe. Caregivers can also help with bathing, dressing, giving medications, housekeeping and preparing meals.
Respite care may seem like a luxury but that is not the case. Without respite, a caregiver is susceptible to burnout. Symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, frustration, impatience and difficulty coping with the demands of caregiving. The key is to getting respite care before you become exhausted and overwhelmed.
Here are some other things to consider when it comes to respite care:
- Breaks don’t have to be long to be effective. Even short breaks can help you cope with your caregiving duties and feelings of isolation.
- Don’t overschedule yourself when it comes to respite breaks. Try to do something that is meaningful and relaxing. Remember, the idea is to recharge your battery.
- It may take a few times before you and your parent gets used to respite care.
- You may feel guilty about taking a break (and your loved one may try to make you feel this way) but remember that you are not doing anything wrong. Time away will benefit everyone in the long run. In fact, chances are high that you and your parent will appreciate each other more following respite care.
Taking care of an elderly parent can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Failing to care for yourself can do long-term damage to your health and wellness. That’s why taking time for yourself is so important and will go a long way toward achieving the right balance between caring for your loved one and caring for yourself.