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Respite Care Explained

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/14/2010 7:53:31 AM

For many, the challenges of caring for a loved one are part of daily life. Caregiving is a demanding, stressful job and is nearly impossible to do alone. Getting assistance along the way is essential to your health, and your resilience is critical for your loved one.

Respite For Caregivers

Respite can be defined as temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities. Once faced with the responsibility that comes with being a caregiver, we begin to realize how much we took respite for granted. Now, we feel guilty to even consider taking time for ourselves from our caregiving duties.

Respite can take many different forms and does not require taking a long distance vacation. Respite may be taken on a daily basis, even if just for an hour or two, to engage in something you enjoy yourself, helping to ease the stress of providing care. These daily respite periods are an important part of a caregiver's mental health.

Daily respite, however, is not enough on its own. It is also a good idea to find a form of respite that will take you out of the caregiving environment regularly, and into a social one. Social activities with friends and family members is a natural way to relieve stress and take your mind off of your responsibilities as a caregiver.

Respite Care Options

Respite care is available in many forms. Family members and friends may be able to provide temporary assistance while you run an errand, take personal time off or even in some cases take a vacation. In some cases going outside of the family is necessary, and in-home or out-of-home respite services may be required.

In-Home Respite Care

In-home respite care services are available in the form of volunteer assistance and paid help, occasionally or on a regular basis. Duration of services are flexible and can range from hourly to overnight to a weekly basis. Care providers can be arranged directly or you may choose to hire an agency to provide on of their caregivers.

Out-Of-Home Respite Care

If your loved one requires that housing be provided, there are a number of private and non-profit organizations that provide out-of-home respite care.

Adult day care centers are designed for older adults who either can no longer manage independently or who are feeling isolated, depressed or lonely. These centers operate during the daytime hours, Monday through Friday, in a safe, supportive and social environment.

Residential & community programs may offer temporary care for varying lengths of time. Group homes, hospitals, nursing homes and other specialized health facilities provide planned overnight services, providing caregivers with temporary relief.

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