Although you love and cherish your family members, as they age, medical and health conditions sometimes lead to obstacles, challenges, and feelings of guilt.
You feel you are responsible for taking care of your elderly family members. They prioritized you when you were young, right?
Now the tables have turned, and they need help.
Yet sometimes caring for loved ones can take a toll on your mental health and physical well-being.
You don’t have to go this route alone.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of respite care for you and your loved one(s).
Table of Contents
What Is Respite Care
Respite Care is a way family caregivers can get a break from their regular duties and responsibilities related to caring for their loved ones.
Google defines respite care as:
“Temporary institutional care of a sick, elderly, or disabled person, providing relief for their usual caregiver.”
Most caregivers become aware that they need some time for themselves or to be with other family members. However, this realization often happens after they have neglected themselves for some time, and adverse side effects start negatively impacting their lives.
Caregivers often consider getting help and look into respite care so they can:
- Attend special events
- Take care of their immediate family, including children
- Run errands
- Do things they enjoy
- Spend time with friends
- Go on vacation
Respite care can be done in or out of the home.
What Is the Importance of Respite Care for Caregivers?
Although caring for an older friend or family member who is dealing with the challenges of aging can be rewarding, it can also lead to physical and mental challenges.
Caregiver burnout is real because caring for another person can be nerve-racking, exhausting, and stressful. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 23% of Americans in 2020 believed caregiving caused them health issues.
CaringBridge, a personal health journal, defines caregiver stress as:
“the physical and emotional strain that results from continuous care for another person.”
Over time, this strain can cause physical and mental health issues.
Now, do you see the importance of respite care?
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reported that adult children who are caregivers dedicate 77 hours per month to this responsibility. That is a lot of time — about 20 hours a week!
There are signs to look out for so that you don’t reach the point of total burnout.
Physical signs may include:
- Body aches
- Not being able to sleep
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Becoming dependent on alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications
Emotional signs may include:
- Easily bothered, irritated, or angered
- Feelings of deep sadness, hopelessness, or loneliness
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Disinterest in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy
Additionally, there are symptoms caused form the long-term effect of stress, such as:
- Drug addiction
- High risk for chronic diseases
- Short-term memory loss
- Problems concentrating
Learn more details about avoiding burnout and coping with elderly family members here.
Time to Rest and Recharge
We need relaxation because we cannot work continuously. Relaxation, then, is not an end; for it is taken for the sake of activity”. – Aristotle
Everyone needs downtime. Without it, productivity decreases, and your body becomes overstimulated, leading to many of the symptoms mentioned above.
As a caregiver, when you have the opportunity to recharge your batteries, you can return to caregiving feeling refreshed and renewed.
With less stress, caregivers often have:
- More patience
- A better attitude
- Improved relationships
Time for Maintaining a Social Life
It is common for caregivers to give all of their time and energy away, causing them to neglect their own needs, including their need for:
Withdrawing from social engagements results in less time with other family members and friends, causing strain in other aspects of your life.
Respite care offers a solution for family members to have more time to connect, enabling them to nurture their relationships instead of having to focus on survival by getting through the daily routine.
Ironically, many caregivers often feel a sense of relief once they start using respite care and wonder why they hadn’t previously searched for this type of support.
Maintain an Identity Outside of ‘Caregiver’
Being a caregiver can be demanding and all-consuming. Therefore, respite care allows you to re-identify with yourself— remembering the person you were before you took on the caregiver role.
No one can be “on” 24/7. When caring for a loved one, everyone needs and deserves a break.
Provides Peace of Mind
You feel a sense of alleviation when you know that your loved one receives high-quality care, and you see that all their needs are met. It is reassuring and satisfying.
Are you longing just to be able to enjoy time spent with your loved one? Learn more about compassionate solutions for the challenges of aging today.
Provides the Opportunity to “Test” Senior Living
Respite care is how your loved one can try out living in a Senior Living Community. Your family can evaluate if the facility is a good fit and if your loved one feels happy and peaceful.
From the perspective of your loved one, it can be scary to move into a new place, leaving behind everything they have ever known. Therefore, a trial period or respite care could be a way to ease into a new situation. This way can be less intimidating and daunting for your loved one.
Being informed is critical; therefore, learn more about senior care options here. It is best to be knowledgeable when you need to make a challenging decision.
What Is the Importance of Respite Care for Seniors?
Respite care is an option for those who can no longer live alone and for patients recovering from an accident or surgery.
An Opportunity to Meet New People
Our community staff strive to create positive experiences daily through high-quality interactions and comfortable facilities.
Your loved ones can spend time with people and enjoy all the amenities we offer, including:
- Full activities program
- Social, recreational, and leisure activities
- Private entertainment areas for friend and family gatherings
- Crafts and cards
- Exercise and wellness programs
Getting involved is a way your loved one can find purpose and enjoy the company of others.
Stimulates the Brain in New Ways
While routines are critical for seniors, new faces, spaces, and ways of doing things keep life interesting.
Improving cognitive function is directly related to improving your quality of life.
The National Institute on Aging states:
“Cognitive health — the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember — is an important component of performing everyday activities.”
Ways to boost brain function include:
- Playing games
- Learning a new skill
- Resting and sleeping enough
- Engaging in social interaction
- Eating well-balanced, nutritious food; and
- Being active
Learn about how Senior Services of America provides these activities by clicking here.
Gives a Glimpse of What Community Life Looks Like
At first, moving into Senior Community Living can be scary. People may think it is not for them due to the fear of giving up their independence.
However, there are various options when considering senior living facilities. Each family can decide which type of care would be ideal for their family dynamics.
At Senior Services of America, many of our Assisted Living Communities offer several options for short-term respite stays, and apartments are also available.
Doing your research and checking out residences is a vital part of the process. Find a community near you today.
4 Types of Respite Care for Seniors
There are many options for respite care. Discover which one would best support your current situation.
#1: Senior Living Communities
Most Senior Communities offer respite care (from seven to 30 days). And with this option, everything is included! There is no need to move furniture as your loved one will find everything they need at the facility.
Experience what Senior Services of America offers.
- Sample our levels of services
- Taste our home-style, chef-prepared meals
- Experience our activities
- Enjoy the community atmosphere before committing to a new beginning
This experience is often framed as an opportunity for your loved one to “go away on vacation.”
#2 Adult Daycare
Some communities offer adult daycare programs. This service means that your loved one has a safe space to stay while you are working or busy with other commitments, but then they can join you at home at the end of the day.
Adult daycare provides an environment that is:
#3 Extended Family
Another option to give yourself more time is to arrange for another family member to help. Maybe there is someone who can take over or cover when needed.
#4 Home Health
Sometimes the best option is to hire a home health aide or private duty nurse. This person could monitor vital signs, administer medications, and assist in daily care activities.
Senior Services of America: Providing Compassionate Solutions for the Challenges of Aging
Respite care benefits everybody. It can help you with overwhelming feelings that come from not having enough time in the day to get everything done.
Or maybe you are worried about leaving your elderly parents alone for even a short time. Senior Services of America communities work to alleviate some of your stress and give you more time for your personal responsibilities, rest, and relaxation.
Are you ready to make some changes? There is no need to feel guilty, now is your chance to add more quality time to your relationship with your loved ones.
Knowing that your loved one is in the best hands can release some weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to do it all. Learning how to ask for help is a superpower.
Senior Services of America is committed to providing the best customer service while caring for your loved one. We would love to discuss the importance of respite care with you.