Caring for a Loved One Can Be Demanding
In-home Respite Care Means a Well Earned Break From Caring
Respite Care services help give you a break in caring for your elderly Loved One. Although taking care of a Loved One can be a privilege and give you great personal joy, it can also be overwhelming.
Caring for a family member can bring you closer together, but unless you manage it carefully, you can burn out both physically and emotionally.
To prevent yourself from burning out, it’s important to have regular respite, whether it’s only for a few hours each week or to go on a much-needed holiday.
In-home Respite Care offers you the chance to de-stress, restore your physical and mental energy, and keep your life in balance.
It doesn’t matter how much you love the person you are caring for; you need regular breaks. If you’re raising a family or working full-time, it’s even more important.
Of course, you want to do what’s best for those you care for, but it’s not always easy. It’s not immediately obvious, but respite care also benefits your loved one. They get to socialise with new and interesting people, and after a break, you will return to them refreshed and ready to give more.
Caregiving day after day without a break poses health risks to both the Caregiver and the Cared for. Too many Carers wait until they feel exhausted or a health crisis hits and only then look for a solution.
Please don’t wait for a crisis. Respite support can help you now and avoid the crisis.
What is Respite Care?
Respite Care for loved ones provides a temporary, short-term break for the primary Caregiver. This break, or respite, is for their wellbeing, as well as for the welfare of the person for whom they are providing care.
This definition of Respite Care leaves out its importance, however. Mental health is critical, even for Caregivers. If you have been wanting to go on holiday, but are worried about who will take care of your loved one, a respite care arrangement will provide care for your elderly loved one while you are away. Respite Care for elderly parents or relatives means you will have peace of mind and be free to enjoy your vacation without having to worry.
If you are getting behind in the household chores such as shopping, paying bills or cleaning, or if you are not getting any downtime to rest and relax, you may benefit from respite home care, which gives you a few hours each week to yourself to get things done.
You could enjoy a day out with friends, run some personal errands, go to lunch or have a game of golf. Or if you want to, go on holiday and get away from it all for a while.
You can have a respite break with the help of a relative, a close friend or through a home care service such as The CareSide.
Whether you want to schedule just a few hours or a long break for a holiday, respite care can be arranged to suit your needs.
The Signs That You Need Respite Care
Are you feeling unwell and like you need a break?
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Have you lost your appetite and find it difficult to sleep?
Caregiving is a tough job. It can bring on stress, resentment and depression. If you get worn down enough, you will likely pass on those feelings to your Loved One, no matter how much you try not to.
The stress of relentless caring can cause issues physically, mentally and emotionally. This stress is linked to health problems such as depression and anxiety, and may even be a factor in causing chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. The risk of mental illness also increases.
Watch out for the following signs as indicators of too much stress:
- A change in eating habits, either overeating or loss of appetite;
- Increased irritability;
- Anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Feeling sad or depressed;
- Loss of interest in hobbies;
- Frequent physical pains or illnesses.
When you or other family members recognise some of these signs of stress, it’s time to call for advice or assistance.
Don’t wait for a crisis. Caring for a loved one is manageable, if you take care of yourself and don’t burn out. Respite services can be an important part of managing that process.
The Benefits of Respite Care for the Elderly
Respite Care gives you and your loved one many advantages.
Some of these include:
Relax and recuperate by reading a book, watching TV, going for a walk, surfing the internet, going to a coffee shop, or listening to your favourite music. Do whatever restores your energy and builds your reserves.
Time To Think
Stepping away from the usual routine can give you a new perspective on the situation, lets you clear your head and helps to come up with new solutions to issues.
Enjoy Your Hobbies
Your role as a Caregiver does not define your life. You also have no reason to feel guilty. Enjoy your hobbies. They bring you joy, calm and happiness. You deserve that.
When you think about someone else's wellbeing all the time, you can lose your sense of who you are. Don't lose your sense of self. Reflect on your identity, who you are and what motivates you. Gain some perspective and come back refreshed.
We all need time with friends and family. Don’t become isolated or feel alone. Take the time to connect and engage with your circle.
You can go away for a weekend, a week or even a few weeks. We can arrange temporary 24/7 live-in care. Your family can have peace of mind on their vacation, knowing that their Loved One is in good hands.
A New Friend
Your loved one can benefit from the mental stimulation of interacting with someone new. Making new connections and building a circle of trust can help your loved one significantly and prevent over-reliance on you. Respite care is not self-indulgent. It’s a necessity to keep on caring.
How to Manage Respite Care
The first step is to determine respite care eligibility with MyAgedCare.gov.au. Once you have determined that you and your loved one are eligible for respite services, you may begin receiving care. To get the most out of your respite care, we recommend the following practices:
Involve Your Loved One
Respite Care services don’t just affect you or your loved one- you should both be involved in the process. Make them feel a part of it by involving them in decisions such as how much time you will be away for, and who will help out when you’re gone. Let them know how they will be better off with you being more relaxed and refreshed. Reinforce how they will enjoy socialising with new people.
Define Your Role
Family caregivers often don't acknowledge that caregiving is a separate role from their role as a parent or spouse. By defining the caregiving role as distinct from the parent or spouse role, you will feel much better about the situation.
Assess Their Needs
Determine the level and type of care required in your absence and if there are any specific Caregiver skills needed such as Dementia or Stroke care to take care of your loved one.
Use a calendar to organise how your Caregiving time and your respite time will stay separate. By putting your commitments down on paper, you will be more objective and less emotional about it.
Find Your Space
If you decide to stay at home while having respite, you will need some private space to rest and relax and enjoy your hobbies. This could be a bedroom, a spare room, a garden shed or a corner of the lounge room. Somewhere that you won't be disturbed.
Deal With Your Feelings
Not acknowledging your emotions takes a toll on both your mental and physical health. By sharing your sense of frustration with friends and family, the burden will lighten. Join a support group and seek professional counselling advice.
It's OK to say “no” when you can't give any more. Don't take on more than you can handle and accept that you can't do everything. Explain why you can’t take any more on and don't feel bad about it.
Don't dwell on the negative. Nothing stays the same forever. Try to resolve conflicts with family and friends. Be proud of all that you are doing, and focus on the joy of caring for someone you love.
Practices to Get the Most Out of Respite Care
The CareSide recommends following these practices to relieve stress and maintain optimal health during Respite Care and every day:
Maintain The Basics
- Eat regular nutritious meals.
- Stay in contact with friends.
- Don't give up your hobbies.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Join A Support Group
Seek support through a support group that can give you good advice. Reach out to your faith community, which could be a good source of volunteer caregiving help.
Check In With Your Doctor
Visit your doctor regularly and share concerns you have about the stress of caregiving and how it impacts your health.
Get a massage, a manicure or a pedicure. Have your hair done by a hairdresser.
Laugh and see the funny side. Find the humour in everyday situations and watch a comedy.
Use A Journal
Write down your thoughts and feelings. It provides a release for your emotions and clarifies your thoughts and feelings. Arrange for a family member, friend or volunteer from a church or senior centre to call you on a regular basis to see if you need help.
Share Your Feelings
Do not bottle up your emotions. Know your limits. Allocate a fair and reasonable time to your Loved One's Caregiving. Be realistic. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
Learn About The Condition
Research your loved one's needs or illness and how to best care for the condition. The more you know, the more effective and more satisfied you can be.
How to Arrange Emergency Respite Care
To arrange emergency respite care, visit the Carer Gateway online or call them at 1 800 422 737. Help is always available in an emergency, but make sure you have an emergency plan in place before you need it. When developing a plan, make sure it covers both you and your Loved One, because if something happens to you, you’ll need to make sure someone is still caring for your loved one. See the Australian Government’s emergency planning advice, tools and information on the Carer Gateway.
Tips On How To Get Respite Care At Home
Do You Feel Burnt Out From Caring For Your Loved One?
When you need time for yourself, our professional respite carers will be there. Our trained caregivers are here to give you temporary support, advice and guidance whenever you need it.
Depending on your needs, our in-home caregivers can stop by every once in a while, or for a few hours a week depending on what you and your family need.
If you plan on going on a holiday, one of our trained professionals can provide Live In care with your loved one while you’re away.
Get Our Free Guide To Respite Care At Home