Family Respite Care: Good for Clients, Good for Families

It’s not easy caring for a disabled or otherwise impaired individual. In fact, sometimes it can feel impossible. That’s exactly when taking a break is not only recommended, but essential to the well-being of the caregiver, as well as their loved one. After all, no one person can “do it all,” nor should they be expected to!

The concept of family respite care is a familiar and important one when reviewing appropriate strategies and treatment plans for seniors. Without it, the consequences of a family member caring full time for an older adult are significant, and potentially staggering. One recent eldercare study found that having regular, scheduled respite from caregiving prevented up to 45% of elder abuse reports. The same study found that those families who received regular respite care also reported less marital strife (including divorce and separation), as well as fewer serious mental health problems like depression and episodes of extreme anxiety.

Family respite care is not a panacea, but it is an important safety valve for the day-to-day stressors that come along with the job of caring for another person. Family respite does not mean a family member “can’t handle” taking care of someone else, or is weak, or worse, doesn’t love the person they’re taking care of. It is simply a well needed–and well deserved–break. Taking a moment to regroup, rethink, and unwind offers important benefits that cannot be underestimated. After all, caregiving is never a sprint, but a marathon!

A professional, certified in-home caregiver can provide peace of mind when family respite care is needed. Frequently, the senior also appreciates the “changing of the guard.” It can be fun to get to know someone new, and have a slight shift to the daily routines that can get awfully monotonous over time. At worst, respite care from an experienced professional often allows the senior a new perspective and appreciation for their regular caregiver!