Caring for a loved one is a lot of work. Many people take on the role of caregiver without a second thought, and they love doing it. However, that doesn’t change the fact that caring for someone does take its toll on a person. If you’re trying to balance being a caregiver with having a family, a career, or both, you may find that you just don’t always have enough time in the day to do it all. You reach the point where you have to give up something.

What most people give up first is their own health. They get less sleep, start eating unhealthy foods or skipping meals, and stop doing things they enjoy. This can lead to illness, stress, and even emotional outbursts. It’s not healthy for you or the person you’re caring for, plus it can affect your family and work. If you’ve reached this point, you need respite care.

Respite care provides caregivers with a break. When you reach out to Reliant Home Care Services for respite care, we send one of our trained caregivers to step in for you. You can have a respite provider stay with your loved one for a few hours, a whole day, or even have them come for a week or more. You get a chance to run errands, go shopping, go to appointments, or simply take a break. If you’re not healthy, you can’t be a good caregiver.

Respite care offers critical support for caregivers. If you’re burnt out, you’re not going to be able to provide for your loved one, your family, or your job with your best efforts. It’s okay to take a break. In fact, it’s necessary if you’re going to be a great caregiver. Here are some of the basics of respite care and why it’s beneficial.

Understanding Respite Carea hand reaching into a tub of skincare on a tray above a bathtub

A respite is defined as a short period of rest or relief, and that’s exactly what respite care provides. You get to take some time for yourself. In some cases, this means handling business you haven’t been able to get to, such as making phone calls or running errands. In other cases, it really does mean resting. 

Respite care comes in a few different ways. In some cases, you can get respite care by asking another family member or friend to stay with your loved one for a bit. This is likely where you would turn first. However, what do you do if you don’t have anyone nearby you trust to stay with your loved one? In that case, you can turn to Reliant for in-home care. One of our trained caregivers can help your loved one while you rest. 

There are two other options that provide a bit more structure. The first is adult day services. You can take your loved one to a local senior center or other location where they can spend time with other seniors. This gives them the chance to be social and engage with others. It may not be an option for everyone, of course, but the social aspect is something you may not be able to provide. Residential or overnight care is another option and is good if you have to be out of town or otherwise unavailable.

The Benefits of Respite Care for Family Caregivers

There are several reasons why working with a respite care provider is beneficial. Being a caregiver can be stressful. You’re taking responsibility for someone’s life. In some cases, that includes making certain that they take life-saving medication. Doing this for weeks, months, or even years can lead to burnout. Feeling exhausted and wanting a break from being a caregiver doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re a bad person. It happens to everyone. 

That’s why respite care exists. You need time to care for yourself. That includes handling your own physical health, of course, but it also means taking a mental break every now and then. Otherwise, you may find yourself being short with others, getting angry for no reason. This can cause tension between you and your loved one, making caring for them even more stressful.

By taking a rest every now and then, you can approach your duties as a caregiver with fresh eyes. You’ll be able to provide better help to your loved one while taking care of yourself.

How Respite Care Supports Care Recipients

Respite care helps your loved one, too. If they’re used to you coming at certain times of the day or on certain days, having a respite provider continues that routine. Your loved one may be very used to this routine, and having it disrupted can greatly affect their mental state. 

Having someone new visit your loved one also gives them the chance to socialize. You may have heard all of their stories before, but we haven’t. Getting to interact with new people has been shown to have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Being lonely carries certain health risks, and sometimes simply having someone new to talk to for a few hours can help more than you might think.

Respite providers may also be able to offer specialized care for your loved one. You may be able to have a provider who has experience working with those with dementia, for example, or find a provider who understands how to help those with limited mobility. 

Working with a respite care professional can improve the quality of life for both you and your loved one. By resting and taking care of yourself, you’ll be better able to help your loved one, while spending time with someone else helps your loved one avoid feeling isolated. 

Types of Respite Care Services

As mentioned earlier, there are four types of respite care services:

  • Non-professional respite care is provided by friends or family members. While this can be great for those who need a short break, it’s not always possible if you and your loved one don’t live near family or simply can’t find someone who is able to provide care.
  • Adult daycare centers give your loved one a chance to socialize with others. They spend the day at one of these centers making new friends and enjoying time with others. The staff are available to provide help with basic tasks, and they typically offer lunch or snacks. The downside is that some individuals aren’t able to travel to one of these centers or are no longer able to fully engage socially.
  • Residential respite care facilities are like adult day care centers but offer overnight and extended stay options. Staff members assist guests with all basic tasks, including bathing, dressing, and eating. This is an excellent option if you have to go out of town and are concerned about your loved one getting the care they need while you’re gone.
  • Respite care providers and agencies such as Reliant provide in-home care handled by trained experts. Unlike in-home care provided by friends and family, our team can meet your schedule, so we’re there when you need us. We provide everything from a few hours of care as needed to regular care on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Finding the Right Respite Care Option

There’s often no quick and easy answer to the right type of respite care you need. It truly depends on your situation, your loved one’s needs, and your schedule. Some people may need respite care on a very regular basis. Others may need someone to stay with their loved ones once a month or even less often. 

No matter what your needs are, the first step to finding the right care option is to research your local providers. Find out what options are available. Are there providers who will let you book a few hours every now and then? Are there any daycare centers nearby that are accepting new members? 

Of course, while no one wants money to dictate the care they receive, your budget is, unfortunately, a reality. You will want to find a care provider that meets your needs and is affordable. Other concerns include location and availability. Some providers may only travel a specific distance from their location, while others may not have the availability you need on a regular basis. 

If you’re new to caregiving, you may not know where to start. A general internet search can help, but it can also feel overwhelming, too. You can always talk to your healthcare provider or your loved one’s provider about options. There are also support groups for those whose loved ones are struggling with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Others who provide care to loved ones may have recommendations they can provide, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Addressing Concerns and Questions about Respite Carea man meditating in his living room

Some people do have concerns about leaving their loved one with someone else, especially if they don’t know the person. That’s a valid concern, but you are always welcome to sit down with the provider first to learn more about them. You should ask any questions you may have, and if you’re not satisfied with the answers, consider looking at other options. The comfort of you and your loved one should always come first.

It is important to remember that respite care is not medical care. While respite providers may have basic emergency medical training and knowledge, they’re typically not nurses or other healthcare professionals. You will want to make certain you understand what a respite provider can and cannot provide before hiring them.

Remember that bringing in a respite care provider doesn’t mean that you have failed as a caregiver. You shouldn’t feel guilty about your decision. It’s also common for someone to feel some anxiety about leaving their loved one with a care provider. To help alleviate some of this stress, you should feel free to call the provider while they’re with your loved one and discuss the visit with your loved one later. 

Financial and Support Resources for Respite Care

There are funding options out there for those who need respite care if you know where to look. Some states may offer respite care through various programs, including programs offered through your local Department of Human Services or Medicaid. Other federal agencies such as the VA may be able to help veterans and their families.

There may be other local resources you can reach out to. This is where referrals from your care provider or from others who have used respite providers can help. As a provider, Reliant also helps our clients look for funding options. We believe everyone should get the care they need without worrying about finances. Whether it’s through a local nonprofit or the government, we will help you find resources.

Reach Out to Reliant Home Care Services Today to Learn More

Being a caregiver is a lot of work, and it’s not wrong or bad to ask for help when you need it. Respite care is a necessary part of the caregiving process. If you’re not well physically, mentally, and emotionally, you can’t give your best care to your loved one. You need regular rest and self-care, which is why reaching out to a respite caregiver shouldn’t make you feel guilty. It’s being responsible. 

Reliant Home Care Services is here to help you with respite care. Whether you need to learn more about financial resources or are ready to book a care provider, we’re here for you. Reach out today to learn more.