If you’re of a certain age, you may remember those old TV commercials for Rolaids® antacid. The announcer would ask a housewife, blue-collar worker, or celebrity, “How do you spell relief?” If you’re a caregiver, particularly if you’re caring for a spouse, parent, or older adult 24/7, your answer may well be “respite care.”
What is respite care?
Respite care is a form of short-term substitute care that provides temporary relief for caregivers. You can receive a break for a few hours, a few days, or several weeks. Services may take place in the home, at an adult day care program, or in a residential setting such as an assisted living community. A trusted relative or friend may also be available to provide informal respite care.
At Holly Hall, we offer respite care services for periods ranging from a couple of days to a week or two. Seniors who stay with us for short-term respite care benefit from private rooms, chef-prepared meals, life-enriching activities, and attentive, caring staff.
When should you use respite care?
There are many situations where respite care can provide much-needed help. Here are some examples of how respite care can fill the gap when a full-time caregiver isn’t available.
- You need a break. Caregiving is exhausting, especially when you’re the sole caregiver in your family. If you’re feeling stressed out, burned out, depressed, or feeling frustrated or angry, you need respite care. A short break will allow you to recharge your batteries and be a better caregiver.
- You’re going on vacation. Caregivers rarely get a vacation unless they plan for it. Give yourself permission to step out of your caregiving role and get away for an extended break. Caregivers are at greater risk for many chronic conditions. Don’t wait until you have a health crisis of your own. Prioritize your own health needs so you can look after the health of your loved one.
- You need to travel out of town. When you need to travel for work or an important family event without your loved one, respite care can provide the help you need. It also gives your loved one a chance to meet new people and enjoy new experiences.
- You’re renovating your home. If you’re renovating a bedroom or bathroom for an aging parent, they may prefer a quieter place to stay while the work’s being done. A respite-care stay offers a safe, supportive environment for your loved one and less stress for everyone concerned.
- You want to give senior living a trial run. If you’re thinking about moving a loved one to a specific community, a respite care stay allows you to test it out before making a final commitment.
What are the signs of caregiver stress?
Caregiving can be emotionally and physically exhausting. To determine if you need a much-deserved break, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel emotionally and physically drained on a regular basis?
- Are you concerned that in the event of an emergency, there is no one you trust to take care of your loved one?
- Do you find yourself becoming easily irritated with things that previously never bothered you?
- Are you neglecting your own health needs due to lack of time or lack of desire?
- Are you experiencing resentment toward other family members who could help you but don’t?
- Is your social life suffering?
- Is there an unusual change in your eating habits?
- Do you have feelings of helplessness?
- Have you been resorting to unhealthy behaviors like smoking or drinking too much alcohol?
Don’t wait until you’re at a breaking point. Support is available at Holly Hall.
As a caregiver, you’re constantly thinking of someone else’s needs. But to be a better caregiver, you must think of your own needs too. To learn how respite care at Holly Hall can help you help yourself and give your loved one the care they deserve, get in touch. Even if you don’t need respite care now, it’s a good idea to research your options so when you do need a break, you’ll know exactly where to go.
A short-term stay is also helpful after your loved one has been discharged from the hospital. Our Healthcare Center offers 24-hour skilled nursing, along with a full range of rehabilitation therapies to help your loved one regain their strength so they can return home safely.