The Benefits of Respite Care
When the Beatles sang “I get by with a little help from my friends” in 1967, they coined a phrase that could be an anthem for primary caregivers. Selfless, loyal, and dedicated, family members caring for loved ones with illness or disability excel at taking care of others—but sometimes they need a little help in order to care for themselves.
The demands of providing 24/7 care can be physically and emotionally draining for caregivers. Without breaks to maintain their own mental and physical wellness, caregivers can become sick or experience burnout. With no trusted, competent, caring person to turn to for respite, it can be difficult to maintain a household, run errands, exercise, or even take a shower.
Relief may come from nearby friends or other family members, but with families often living far apart and people’s lives overflowing with busy schedules, caregivers often find themselves shouldering the burden alone. For many caregivers, home health care providers can be the “friends” who help you get by.
Finding relief in respite care
Home care agencies offer respite care to help caregivers find relief from the daily demands of caring for a loved one. Whether the scope of respite care includes medical or non-medical services, it is typically delivered in the client’s home for as little as a few hours or as long as several days.
Specific respite care services can be provided for the caregiver or for the individual requiring care. Relief for the caregiver might come in the form of assistance with shopping, errands, and laundry while the caregiver continues to care for the person in need.
In other cases, the respite care provider will take over the responsibilities of care so the caregiver can leave the home for errands, classes, a walk, or even a short vacation. Anything that helps caregivers “recharge their batteries” is a good reason to engage respite care.
The best home care agencies offer a wide range of flexible services, delivered by qualified, trained, compassionate home care providers who are experienced in providing respite care.
To ensure that you choose a provider who meets your family’s needs, it’s important to identify whether your loved one needs skilled nursing or assistance with personal care. Caring for elderly adults or someone with Alzheimer’s may be different than providing respite care for adults with special needs or chronic illness.
Some clients may need help with bathing or climbing stairs, while others may require assistance with medication, oxygen, or more complex medical needs. Respite car for seniors can be as simple as providing companionship—taking a client to a movie or salon, or sharing a game or a meal.
Whatever the need, in order for caregivers to enjoy their well-deserved break, they must be able to trust respite care providers and know that their loved ones are in capable hands.
10 Reasons to use respite care
- Respite care provides family support, allowing for elderly adults and clients with disabilities or chronic illness to remain in the comfort of home.
- Respite care services may be tailored to meet the needs of the client and caregiver.
- In-home respite care can be more cost-effective than off-site options for your loved ones.
- Caregivers can safely and confidently leave the home for an hour, a day, or a few days, for any reason.
- When caregivers have time to care for themselves, they can better care for others. Taking a walk or a yoga class, exercising, playing golf or tennis, getting a massage or a manicure, meeting a friend for lunch, shopping, and even crossing errands off a list can help caregivers feel refreshed and ready to renew the routine of care.
- Respite care allows caregivers time to focus on other family members—from planning a night out with a partner, to attending children’s extracurricular activities or taking a getaway family weekend.
- Some insurance plans, such as long-term care policies or disability coverage, may provide for in-home respite care for a period of time.
- When patients have short-term needs such as injuries or illness, respite care can allow family members to remain at work, so they don’t lose personal time or pay.
- Respite care providers can often give caregivers guidance with procedures at home, such as suggesting ways to ease personal care or remember medication.
- Respite care providers can also provide emotional relief for caregivers, helping to “lift the load” by simply listening and being there.