Respite is the break caregivers get when they allow someone else to temporarily take over their caregiving duties for an hour, a day, a week or longer. Respite can help prevent caregiver burnout and permits you to continue caring for your family member for as long as possible. It gives you a chance to rest, recharge, get your errands done or take a much-needed holiday.
Several formal types of respite are provided through your local health authority, such as:
* Your spouse attending an Adult Day program.
* Having a Home Support Worker come to your home overnight to look after your aging parent, so you can catch up on sleep or during the day for a few hours to stay with your disabled spouse, so you can spend some time on your own.
* Scheduling a short-term admission or respite stay for your family member in a residential care facility or other facility that provides respite care. This type of respite can range from overnight to a week or more.
Caregivers can access these types of respite services by calling their care recipient’s Case Manager or the Home and Community Care department of your local health authority. Similar services are also available through private home support agencies and private care facilities. These can be found in your local telephone book, online or in a community resource directory, such as the *Senior Living* Housing Directory available at www.seniorlivingmag.com/housingdirectory
In addition to these forms of respite, there are many other creative ways for caregivers to take a break. At FCNS, we think of “respite as an outcome.” This means any activity or event that allows you to feel more rested and to feel as though you have had time off from your caregiving duties:
* A neighbour or volunteer coming over for a couple of hours to play cards with your spouse while you go out
* Spending time in your garden, at the beach or going for a walk
* Having a family member come and stay overnight, so you can sleep through the night
* Going out for coffee with friends
* Reading a book or watching a movie
* Trading homes for a weekend with a family member or friend who lives nearby. They can take over your caregiving responsibilities and you can relax.
Respite does not always mean separation from the person you are caring for. It can mean sharing non-caregiving-focused time together, such as going to see a play or to the spa. These activities help to reduce your sense of isolation and re-establish a balanced relationship.
For respite to be refreshing, you need to be able to let go of worrying about the other person. Others may not provide care exactly as you would, but your family member will be cared for and their daily life will be enriched by interactions with new people. You will come back stronger and more refreshed. Everyone will benefit!
Next month: Caregiving and Facility Placement
JULY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
JULY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
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