Respite care is the term given to a temporary care provider that is engaged in order to give a primary carer some time off from their caring responsibilities.
It’s an important way for carers to take care of themselves, and it also has benefits for the person being cared for.
Being a primary care provider can be stressful. It can feel relentless to constantly be responsible for the wellbeing of another person, which can manifest itself in stress.
Stress is designed to be a short-term state of mind, originally designed to allow us to flee from danger. If you are under stress for long periods of time, then it can start to have side effects.
If you are noticing that you have a shorter temper than usual, your muscles are tense, you’re feeling fatigued or you’re having trouble sleeping then these are all possible signs of stress.
Taking a break is important as it will help the carer to better cope with stress so that it won’t impact their health, and it also means that the quality of care they provide is likely to be of higher quality because they won’t be feeling stressed and irritable.
Because providing care is a job with no time off, carers can often feel as though they haven’t had any time to spend with their loved ones or doing the things that they like to do, which gives their life meaning and purpose.
Over a long period of time, this can start to lead to low mood, which isn’t great for the carer and so, in turn, isn’t great for the person being cared for.
Taking advantage of respite care means that you can still be engaged in your life, which will make you happier, and make you a better carer.
If someone requires full-time care then it’s worth being prepared for the future by researching care homes. That way, if you did end up in a situation where you needed to move your loved one to a care home, you could feel happy that you had done your due diligence.
If for example, something happened and you weren’t able to provide full-time care anymore, or your loved one’s needs became greater than you could handle at home, then it’s important that you know what would happen next.
Finding a care home that also provides respite care means that you can get some respite for yourself, while at the same time getting an idea of how well your loved one gets on in a particular facility; whether they like the staff and whether they seem happy and well cared for.
Finally, respite care allows the person being cared for greater opportunity for social interaction. This is essential as it means that they maintain their engagement with the world, which is important for wellbeing and overall health.
Social interaction has been shown to potentially lower the risk of dementia, as well as helping things like high blood pressure, arthritis and cardiovascular health.