Providing care for a loved one can be an extremely rewarding task that brings family caregivers closer to their loved ones. Acting as a primary caregiver, however, can also be extremely draining. Respite care gives family caregivers a beneficial opportunity to take breaks. With respite care, they can supplement their full-time care with the help of professional caregivers.
According to the American Psychological Association, around 30 percent of adult Americans serve as family caregivers for an ill, aging, or disabled relative. This astonishing number makes up for a large amount of caregiving in the U.S. and warrants a need for respite care.
Sacrifices and Challenges of Family Caregivers
Family caregivers make an immense amount of sacrifices. Caring for a relative or loved one can pose more challenges than professional caregiving.
For one, family caregivers obviously do not get paid for their work, while professional caregivers do. This can be difficult for families who rely upon the income of full-time jobs. Many family caregivers do not have the luxury of free time, and struggle to find a balance between working and caregiving.
Caring for a loved one often involves a lot more emotional challenges as well. Caring for a loved one full-time might cause stress or tension within a family, even when the experience is ultimately positive.
Finally, acting as a family caregiver can be physically exhausting. On top of being emotionally or mentally drained, a primary caregiver might have very little time to rest.
How Can Respite Care Help?
This is why respite care serves as such an important resource for many families. Respite care involves the occasional assistance of professional caregivers. With respite care, families can arrange periodic times when a professional caregiver comes to offer their services. This can provide the primary family caregivers with a break from their hard work for brief periods.
The Benefits of Respite Care
These services have many benefits to family caregivers with a loved one in need of full-time care.
Some individuals who are elderly, ill, or disabled cannot be left alone, even for brief periods of time. Respite care offers a break for family caregivers in the situation of providing around-the-clock care to a loved one.
An Affordable Route to Professional Caregiving
Additionally, respite care can serve as an affordable alternative to full-time professional caregiving. It allows families to benefit from professional caregiving services without the commitment of full-time caregiving costs.
Reduce Stress and Prevent Burnout
Without breaks, a primary caregiver might experience high levels of stress and feel less resilient over time as they provide care. The breaks offered by respite care can allow family caregivers to reduce their stress levels and prevent burnout from their many responsibilities.
Respite care also allows primary caregivers to enjoy much-needed time for self-care. Even just a couple hours of respite care services weekly can provide a family caregiver with the time they need to pursue a hobby, run errands, or just relax.
Preserve Your Own Physical Health
Furthermore, respite care can give family caregivers the opportunity to attend to their own needs and health. A recent study suggests that 60 percent of family caregivers report “fair or poor health”, who suffer from at least one chronic condition or disability. Compared to non-caregivers, who reported chronic conditions at only 33 percent, these statistics are trouble and suggest that full-time caregiving can be physically taxing.
This is especially for caregivers who cannot take much-needed breaks. Utilizing respite care can improve a family caregiver’s chance and attending to and preserving their own health. This can be beneficial for care receivers as well. It prevents their caregivers from becoming physically unable to care for them.
Improve Family Relationships
When caregiving happens within a family, there can be added pressure of emotional baggage to the caregiving process. Sometimes, family relationships might become strained due to the stress that accompanies the situation.
Respite care services can help improve family relationships by helping primary caregivers take a step back from their duties. It can diminish feelings of tension between a caregiver and their loved one.
Respire care might also provide a care patient with an enjoyable level of companionship. Allowing another caregiver into the caregiving process can offer patients an opportunity to get to know someone new and enjoy their company.
How to Utilize Respite Care
Do you think that respite care might be a good option for you or your family?
Utilizing respite care is not difficult, and there are many professional care agencies ready to help you find respite care services. If you are looking for respite care services, here are a few first steps you can take:
- Find a care agency that you like.
- Communicate with the care agency about your loved one’s care needs.
- Set up a respite care schedule.
- Coordinate with any other family caregivers about the schedule.
- Confirm with your loved one that they are comfortable with the care they are receiving.
Respite Care Offers Positive Opportunities
Turning to respite care services does not mean that your loved one is a burden, or you are giving up on providing them care. Respite care is simply an option that can help take some of the stress off of primary caregivers. Ultimately, respite care can help primary caregivers enjoy the more fruitful aspects of caring for a loved one.