Caring for (and worrying about) aging parents can be exhausting. And, most of us have a lot of other competing responsibilities. Whether you are caring for a parent in your home/full-time or manage things from afar, you may find yourself worn out.
Sometimes the symptoms of exhaustion sneak up on you. They can include:
- Snapping at your loved ones, being short-tempered/angry
- Loss of interest in favorite activities, withdrawal from social connections and activities
- Depression, apathy
- Getting sick frequently
- Falling asleep during the day, disturbed sleep patterns (even difficulty sleeping or waking early)
- Change in appetite, eating a lot of junk/fast food
- Drinking, smoking or eating more; getting little exercise
- Muscle soreness, body pain
- Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
- Memory issues, impaired judgment
- Neglecting your own needs/health
- Difficulty in other roles/completing necessary tasks (work problems, marital issues, no energy to complete errands, take a shower or do laundry)
Recognize these symptoms?
Talk to someone who understands.
Respite Care: THE Solution for Caregiver Exhaustion
As a caregiver, it’s vital that you take care of yourself. We can tell you all the things you need to do: go to your doctor’s appointments, exercise, eat right, get rest. But, you know them. It is the reality of life that gets in the way. It’s easy to say, “you should eat nutrient-dense meals to keep up your energy”. Easier said than done when you have five minutes to eat between work and getting to the hospital to see Mom.
This is why respite care is THE solution to caregiver exhaustion. It is the answer to balancing caregiving with the rest of your life. Respite is the best way to actually find time to do the things you need to do to stay healthy and happy.
We’ll share just what respite care is and how you can access it. You may be thinking “We can’t afford it.” or “Mom will never allow it.” Perhaps you’re wondering how respite care even applies to you if you’re not the full-time caregiver. We’ll give you all the answers and some practical tips.
Proven Benefits of Respite Care
64% of caregivers of the elderly receiving respite each week, reported (after one year) improved physical health, 78% improved their emotional health, and 50% cited improvement in the care recipient as well. Forty percent said they were less likely to institutionalize the care recipient because of respite (Theis, S.L., et al, 1994).
In a survey conducted by the Oklahoma Respite Resource Network, 88% of caregivers agreed that respite allowed their loved one to remain at home, 98% of caregivers stated that respite made them a better caregiver. 98% of caregivers said respite increased their ability to provide a less stressful environment, and 79.5% of caregivers said respite contributed to the stability of their marriage. (Testimony of Jan Moss, Senate Finance Committee, April 2004)
Respite for the elderly with chronic disabilities resulted in fewer hospital admissions than for groups receiving no respite care (Chang, J.I., Karuza, J., Katz, P.R, et al, Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, 5: 1992).
Respite Care Defined
The word respite simply means rest. Respite care is a chance for a caregiver to take a break. This comes in many different forms and can be used for different purposes.
Types of Respite Care
Regular respite care: you might use respite care each week or on a regular basis to complete other tasks, do a favorite activity, or just get a break.
For others, respite care may be used for an occasional longer break such as a vacation, family event or handling your own medical needs or an emergency. For example, we had one client for many years who lived in a nursing home and had local family. Whenever they went away on holidays, they hired EasyLiving to look after Mom in their absence. In many other cases, EasyLiving has provided respite care when a caregiver had to be hospitalized.
FAQs about Respite Care
Can we afford respite care?
Many times, you can’t afford NOT to get respite. If you burn out, the costs will be much greater. A little respite is good preventative care.
For around $21/hour you can hire home caregivers for occasional care or a few hours of respite per week. Here is a breakdown of some average costs for different sources of respite care. You may be eligible for some assistance. Contact us to talk through your options.
I’m worried about how this will go. How can I make sure we don’t have a bad respite care experience?
You are right to worry. It is important to do a little planning ahead to make sure it goes well. Fortunately, we have you covered. Click Here to download our free respite care checklist to make sure you have the best experience.
I’m a long-distance caregiver. How does respite care apply to me?
You may be using caregivers or other services on a more regular basis. However, you might also need a break or some help with managing all the tasks. While it may not be traditional respite care, hiring a care manager can provide relief. You’ll save time and stress. Your trips can be at your own pace, with more quality family time.
Respite care can also be a gift you give to a local caregiver sibling. Sometimes the respite might be provided by you. Or, you could hire home caregivers to pick up some of the tasks. Talk this through with your loved one to determine the best options. You want it to be a gift, not more work for them.
How do we know which respite care option is best?
It is a very individual decision, based on the client’s needs, budget and more. You may even use different types of respite care in combination or at different times. There are many creative ways to structure things for affordability and security. Give us a call at 727-447-5845 or contact us online to set up a consultation.