Caring for a Loved One
If you find yourself in the position of acting as an unpaid caregiver for a loved one who is aging or disabled, you are not alone. In fact, there are about 54 million people in the United States provide this kind of care. While people do this because they care about their loved ones, and the work can be rewarding, it is important to note that the physical, emotional, and financial stress of this work can lead to fatigue or even burnout for caregivers. That’s why it is so important for caregivers to practice self-care, even if it’s challenging to find the time to do so. Because of the demanding nature and all-consuming nature of caregiving, respite care can be a boon.
Respite Care for Caregivers
What is respite care? It is a temporary break, relieving caregivers of the duties for a specified length of time by allowing someone else to take responsibility for the care receiver. It could be a few hours, or it could be a few weeks, depending on what is needed. Some caregivers use respite care for a few hours each week so that they can run errands, tend to other areas of their lives, or catch up with friends. If a caregiver needs to go out of town, a longer stretch of respite care can be provided, whether at the care receiver’s home or in a senior living community. Respite care is a broad term and can be provided in a wide range of settings, including an adult day care facility, an assisted living community, or a skilled nursing facility, as well as in the person’s home. It is important, because it allows caregivers a chance to take a break, so that they can come back to their caregiving responsibilities refreshed and renewed. For caregivers who work outside the home, either part-time or full-time, respite services from somewhere like an adult day care facility are vital, allowing them to continue to bring in an income while caring for a loved one.
Paying for Respite Care Services
While respite care is typically not covered by insurance, Medicare may pay for up to five days of respite care in a skilled nursing facility for a person who is receiving hospice care. Sometimes, Medicaid will pay for respite care. Long-term care insurance often covers respite care services, and so do VA benefits, for up to 30 days per year. Respite care costs vary depending on the geographic area and the number of hours or days that service is needed.
Benefits of Taking a Break
Caring for a loved one is a demanding, full-time job, but caregivers still need to take care of themselves and other areas of their lives. Respite care makes this possible, allowing caregivers to manage their responsibilities while also taking care of their own needs. Here are some ways that respite care can benefit both care givers and those for whom they care.
Respite care offers a chance to rest. Often, people who are caring for a loved one are reluctant to take a break from this 24/7 job. Knowing that their loved one’s needs are being handled gives caregivers peace of mind so that they can take a much needed break, alleviating stress and fatigue and coming back refreshed and renewed. Without periods of rest and relaxation, a caregiver risks exhaustion, depression, and burnout.
Respite care is skilled care. Knowing that a qualified care provider is taking care of your loved one means that you do not have to worry whether your care receiver’s needs are being met.
Respite care allows caregivers to reconnect with others. Family caregiving can be all-consuming, allowing little time for social engagement. When your loved one is being cared for by respite care, you can have a chance to reconnect with family and friends, nurturing other important relationships.
Respite care can provide a test run for senior living. If you have been considering finding a senior living community for your loved one, you can check out a community by trying its respite care. This can help you evaluate whether or not it is a good fit for your loved one; by trying out more than one community you can become better informed on which ones might meet your loved one’s needs.
A break can be important for self-care. When you are taking care of someone else, it’s easy to prioritize that person’s health and well-being over your own. In fact, about 20 percent of caregivers find that as they care for a loved one, their own health becomes worse. If you don’t maintain your own health, though, you won’t be able to care for anyone else. What’s more, as a caregiver, you need time to step away from the responsibility of the caregiving role, taking time to do things you enjoy in order to maintain a sense of self.
Taking some space can give you some perspective. No matter how much you love someone, and no matter how happy you are to take care of that person, the two of you will, at some point, need a break from one another. When you engage respite care, it allows you to step away and get some perspective. Things that have been frustrating and overwhelming you may seem to fall into place, or you might think of a better way to handle challenging situations. With some time apart, you can ease any tension between you and your loved one, and when you come back together you will feel better about each other.
Finding Respite Care
There are many different types of respite care, so take your time and decide which is right for you and your loved one. Your solution could be as simple as designating a respite zone within your home for you to take short retreats and get some alone time. You may want to consider temporary placement in a senior living community for a longer break, or you may just need a trusted friend or family member to keep your loved one company while you are off running errands. One of the best solutions is a professional in-home caregiver, who can help with needs like dressing, bathing, meals, toileting, exercise, medication, and other such types of care. Some caregivers make use of an adult day program, where their loved ones can go for structure and social interaction during the day.
The Right Care Can Help Smooth the Way
Caring for a loved one can be difficult and sometimes emotionally draining, but taking the time to recharge can help you be more effective at caregiving. That’s why at BrightStar Care of Delray Beach, Florida, we work hard to deliver the right care for older people and to be a partner their loved ones can turn to for support. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our team of nurses, therapists, CNAs, and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available. In the comforting, familiar surroundings of home, we offer a full range of care services to meet your loved one’s needs and help you when you need it most. Visit our website to contact us or apply now, or call 561-921-0550 to learn more about joining the BrightStar Care family.