Respite care is an important part of the caregiving process for any family that cares for older adults in the home. Yet many people don't know about this option or understand how to access it. Find out more about respite care below by reading up on a few facts and stats about this care model.
Respite care is professional care that offers a respite, or break, for family caregivers. This type of service is provided through a variety of models, including in-home care and care in a community setting.
Many assisted living and memory care communities offer respite care, allowing individuals to become temporary residents of the community. In these cases, the individual benefits from all the amenities and activities within the community, including meals and dining options, social calendars and appropriate clinical support.
Some common reasons family caregivers seek respite care services include:
According to data published by the National Library of Medicine, numerous factors can make respite care necessary for families or primary caregivers. They include but aren't limited to:
For many caregivers, a small break makes a big difference. Regular family caregivers see a difference with as little as 4 hours of respite care a week. Respite care in a community for a few days each season can create opportunities for caregivers to rest, enjoy vacations, spend time with other family members or handle big projects they can't attend to when providing care.
Caregiving can be a stressful task, especially when it's stacked on top of the rest of your life. Some people attempt to juggle family obligations, full- or part-time jobs and care of an older loved one. This level of doing and never resting can lead to bad habits that are dangerous for you and the person you're caring for.
Caregivers who carry on without any respite are at risk of turning to substances to manage stress. That can range from overeating to smoking to abusing drugs or alcohol. Any of these are bad for your health, and they can also make you unable to care appropriately for your loved one.
Another habit many caregivers don't realize they're falling into is chronic lack of sleep. When your day seems completely spoken for by the needs of others, you might stay up late at night to try to relax or enjoy your own hobbies. But a lack of sleep can lead to poor mental and physical health as well as increased mistakes when caring for your loved one, putting you both in danger.
Often caregivers don't seek out respite care because they feel guilty about saying they need a break. But consider this: If you're the one primarily caring for someone, a few days or weeks in respite care might give them a much-needed break from you too.