Every year, tens of millions of Americans provide unpaid care for a family member aged 65 or older. Over time, the demands of caregiving can put a strain on your ability to cope. To reduce this strain, you may need help in the form of temporary respite care.
Basics of Temporary Care for Seniors
The main goal of respite care is to provide you with a break from your caregiving responsibilities. Crucially, reputable providers also ensure the health, safety, and security of your loved one. Temporary care for seniors typically includes such things as:
- Giving support for daily living necessities such as grooming and bathing
- Preparing and serving meals
- Providing housekeeping and laundry services
- Helping make sure that all prescribed medication is taken
A respite period may last for days, weeks, or even longer in some circumstances.
Benefits of Respite Care, #1: Providing Help for Caregiver Burnout
The long-term need to care for another can overwhelm your ability to stay healthy and well. Experts sometimes refer to this situation as caregiver burnout. Potential signs that you’ve reached a state of burnout include:
- Withdrawal from friends or social contact
- Sleeping difficulties
- Getting sick with unusual frequency
Respite care helps you avoid burning out. It can also help you recover from burnout and return to your responsibilities feeling healthy and strong.
Benefit #2: Helping You Avoid Unhealthy Stress Release Options
Eventually, everyone needs to unwind from stressful situations. Some methods of stress relief are genuinely beneficial and support good health. But others may put you on a collision course with danger. Examples of this second kind of stress relief include smoking, drinking in large amounts, and using drugs. By taking needed breaks from caregiving, you can avoid resorting to these dangerous options.
Benefits of Respite Care, #3: Avoiding Friction Between You and Your Loved One
When you’re stressed out, you may say and do things you don’t mean. In turn, you may end up creating significant friction between you and your loved one. Before you reach this point, seek appropriate respite care. That way, you can keep your most important relationships on solid and supportive terms.
Benefit #4: Preventing Long-Term Health Problems
Extended periods of stress can harm your health in a number of ways. Known stress-related conditions include everything from anxiety and depression to stomach problems and asthma. The stress relief provided by respite care can help you prevent these potentially long-term issues.
Benefits of Respite Care, #5: Maintaining Your Sense of Self
The demands of caregiving can limit your opportunities to reserve time for yourself. It can also make it challenging to take part in your favorite activities. Over time, the end result may be a reduced sense of self and personal agency. Respite care can help provide the time you need to maintain or restore your feelings of identity and personhood.