Respite Care Defined: Temporary Relief for a Permanent Situation

When your parents hired a babysitter, no one thought they were bad parents. If you took a vacation, no one would think that you are a bad employee. In these situations, people understand that everyone needs to remove themselves sometimes, take a breath, recharge and then start again with new strength and perspective. As an adult child or spouse, taking care of a loved one is hard work.  There will certainly be times that you will need a break. By choosing to find someone to assist you in the care of your loved ones is probably the most important decision you will ever make.  Taking those breaks, is the choice to take care of yourself so that you can be emotionally and physically rested so that you can care for those that you truly love. Today, there are several options that are available to caregivers that can employ to make the caregiving process easier.

  • In-home respite:

    The temporary caregiver will come to your home, and get to know your loved one in his or her normal environment. Friends, relatives or paid professionals can be used.

  • Specialized residential community:

    You can choose a specialized, local residential community where the care recipient may stay for a few days or a few weeks. This is especially important for those people that are afflicted with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  To have a community where you know that you will get the specialized care is very important on top of which this may end up being where your loved is placed when the disease progression becomes too difficult for your loved one to stay at home.

  • Emergency respite:

    The option to identify a provider or residential community to call in case there is an emergency. Many homecare agencies, adult day care, health centers, and residential care communities provide emergency respite care.

  • Sitter-companion services:

    These are sometimes provided by local civic groups, the faith community and other community organizations to help with the care for a few hours, once or twice a week.

  • Therapeutic adult day care:

    For caregivers who still need to pay the bills, there are options for respite care during business hours five days a week.

Asking for help is never easy, but without help, you are setting yourself up for failure and for problems relating not only to the care of your loved one, but you could potentially find yourself with health related issues that will prevent you from caring for your loved one.

Remember getting respite will make you a better caregiver and will make for a healthier life, both physically and emotionally.

Don’t be afraid to “share the care.”
Posted on February 7, 2011