Respite care provides a temporary break for family caregivers. No matter how much you love the person you are caring for, caregiving is hard and can drain your personal and emotional resources. It is important to take time for yourself when you can. Respite care can be arranged for any amount of time from a few hours a week to several days a month to a week or more of 24/7 care. The care can be provided in home, in an adult day care facility, or in a healthcare setting.
Try to plan for respite care before you get burnt out. You deserve time for yourself, your family, shopping, exercising, reading, vacations, and relaxing. Giving yourself this basic care will ensure that the time you spend with your senior is quality time and the best you have to give.
Here are some signs you may need to think about respite care so you can get some time for yourself:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
- Changes in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns
- Getting sick more often
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications
There are different options available, but some – such as a adult day care centers or respite care facilities – may be less appealing during the coronavirus pandemic we’re experiencing. In-home care from an experienced caregiver may feel like a safer option – and it may be the easiest for your senior and your own coordination efforts.
An in-home caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care serving Columbus, OH can help with bathing, dressing, grooming, medications or even housework such as laundry, making beds, or ﬁxing meals. They can take your senior to the park or appointments. An extra pair of hands can give you time to tidy up, take a bath, or talk with friends.
Often people believe that needing help means they are somehow failing. That’s simply not true! All of us need time to pursue our own interests and taking time to de-stress. Availing yourself of respite care also means that you are thinking ahead and practicing self-care.
Another thing to consider is that, if you haven’t set up reliable alternate care, you may not be ready if an emergency arises that necessitates you being away from your loved one. You don’t want to be testing out new arrangements in the middle of a crisis or illness.
“But my mom simply doesn’t want anyone else around, and she would certainly not want a stranger helping her in the shower or bath.” It’s very common for seniors to feel anxiety about being helped by someone they don’t yet know. Sometimes the best way to get acceptance for an alternate caregiver is to have someone come in to help with housework before helping with personal care. This allows your loved one to become familiar with the idea of a new caregiver and build trust. It may also buy you that same time.
It can also be helpful to suggest that you would like to try having a person in “just for a week,” which gives your senior some feeling of control over the situation and might help them be more open to extending the arrangement.
Make sure to include extended family in the decision. They may not realize how difficult it is for you to be a caregiver and may help with solutions or even step up to be your respite caregiver. They won’t know you need help if you don’t tell them.
Do not discount the desire of friends and neighbors to help. You likely have a network of friends outside of immediate family who would be happy to give you a break. They can provide a perfect social diversion or an understanding ear and may be more accepted by your loved one for delicate personal needs. Ideas for involving family and friends include:
Local family and friends can:
- Prepare meals (try an online meal organizing service like mealtrain.com)
- Pick up prescriptions
- Spend a few hours a week at the house
- Take your loved one to adult day care
- Accompany your senior on a trip to the park or museum
Remote family and friends can:
- Fund a meal service
- Check in with your senior on phone or video calls
- Help with car service schedules
- Come out for a week so you can decompress on a vacation or staycation
Some of these things may be easier than others during this health crisis, which is another reason in-home care may be your best option. Introducing caregivers over time then might give your loved one the comfort level needed for you to actually get away for a few days! And Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH is following coronavirus protocols that minimize the chance of exposure (click here to learn about the team approach of our COVID-19 precautions).
Give us a call today if you are ready for a break!