Why is Respite Care So Important?
Being a full time caregiver is one of the most emotionally challenging jobs out there. Putting your needs aside to make sure that your loved one is thriving requires a level of selflessness that takes a lot out of you. If you’re a caregiver, you’re not alone – more than 40 million Americans are currently taking care of a loved one. Though the role is common, many still struggle with the demands of caregiving.
When you need an extra helping hand, respite care can help. Respite care works by providing temporary care to your loved one so you can have a much-needed break. If you’re struggling, respite care may be a good choice for you.
Let’s find out more about the importance of respite care.
What are the signs of caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout happens as a result of focusing too much on the care of another and not taking time to recover physically, mentally and emotionally. Signs of burnout can include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Issues with sleeping
- Neglecting to care for yourself
- Self medicating with drugs or alcohol
- Feeling powerless
- Increased irritability
- Feeling increasingly unhappy with the person you care for
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
If you fail to take care of these symptoms when they arise, they will only get worse. Aside from being harmful to your own health, caregiver burnout can impact the person you care for too. When you can’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to properly care for others.
What are the benefits of respite care?
Simply put, respite gives you an escape from the hard duties of being a full time caregiver. It’s impossible for anyone to work non-stop without a break, no matter whether that career is caregiving or not. Respite care provides a safe place for your loved one to go for the day so you can rest worry-free knowing that they are taken care of while you refresh yourself.
Some of the other benefits include:
- Opportunity to connect with friends and family. Caregiving can make you feel distant from others in your life. With respite care, you have the chance to make time for those who you don’t get to see as much.
- The chance to run errands. Trying to get things done while caregiving feels impossible. If you need a day to run to the bank, do the laundry and finish some cleaning, respite care will give you the time you need to get your life back in order.
- Maintaining your identity outside of caregiving. As a full time caregiver, you may feel as though you have no identity outside of caregiving. This is one of the most common causes of burnout and should be avoided. Taking time to step outside of this role can remind you of your hobbies, interests and passions outside of caregiving.
- Taking time to relax. You don’t have to be productive with the time granted to you by respite care. In fact, you may choose to spend the whole day relaxing. You shouldn’t feel guilt for doing this either — if you don’t take time to refresh and energize yourself, you risk burnout.
Do you need respite care for your loved one?