Respite care is a service that provides temporary relief for a primary caregiver. During respite care, the caregiver is able to take a break from the responsibilities of caring for a sick, aging, or disabled family member.
Respite care can be provided in the patient’s own home, at day-care centers, or at residential or nursing facilities equipped with rooms for overnight stays. Respite care can last for just a few hours a week or it can last long enough for caregivers to take an extended vacation.
Well-timed respite care can:
- Help family caregivers relieve stress, restore energy, and improve balance in their daily life
- Prevent feelings of exhaustion, isolation, or even burn out
- Provide patients with stimulation and a welcome change of routine
Every caregiver should seek support and take steps to maintain their own health and well-being. Respite care is not a selfish decision on the part of caregivers, but rather supports their ability to continue providing care for their family member.
Who Needs Respite Care?
Caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed by the daily grind of caregiving, struggling with patience and compassion, and having a hard time connecting with the person they’re caring for often feel unfulfilled.
A well-timed break is an opportunity to recharge, increase energy, improve focus, and reinvigorate the caregiver’s ability. Respite care may even offer the chance to learn tips on solving common caregiving challenges, helping to make the caregiving journey a more enjoyable and rewarding experience for both the caregiver and the loved one in their care.
Types of Respite Care
Respite care involves sharing the responsibility of caregiving and obtaining much-needed rest. How this is accomplished can vary. Some caregivers find volunteers to take on their responsibilities, while others hire professional caregivers. Respite care can be a part of the caregiver’s routine, or it may be requested on an impromptu basis.
Respite care can involve out-of-home programs such as adult day care centers, day camps, or nursing homes, or respite care can be offered in the patient’s own home.
In-home respite care: In-home services can be provided by the following:
- Volunteers. The individuals may be found in faith-based, community, and other non-profit organizations.
- Trained staff. This may include home-care businesses that cover short periods of in-home care.
- Personal care providers. This option involves assistance with daily living skills such as dressing, bathing, or feeding.
- Homemaker services. Patients can receive assistance with meal preparation, shopping, and housekeeping.
- Skilled health care. Patients who need medical services will receive help from medical professionals with specialized training and expertise.
Out-of-home respite care: This type of respite care can include adult day care centers, residential programs, caregiver retreats, and respite camps.
Adult day care centers serve the needs of older adults who are no longer able to live independently, or who feel isolated and lonely. These facilities offer planned activities that promote well-being through social and health services.
Residential programs may be offered by hospitals, group homes, nursing homes, and other specialized facilities. Patients have access to emergency and planned overnight services, allowing caregivers to take longer periods of respite.
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