Taking care of an elderly person can be demanding in many ways. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience, but also knowledge and skills that you might not possess. Even when it’s one or both of your parents you’re looking after, all the love and understanding are sometimes simply not enough. In such cases, seeking help in the form of respite care may seem to you as if you’re not doing enough for the ones you love.
However, once you do some research and give it some deeper thought, you’ll realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are many advantages to respite care that you might not be aware of. Here are some reasons you should rely on respite care when caring for an elderly person.
Time off for the Caregiver
When you’re devoted to caring for one of your elderly relatives, asking for somebody to step in can make you feel selfish and lazy. This type of mindset can put too much strain on you, and you can begin perceiving yourself as inadequate or incapable, damaging your mental health. Plus, spending so much energy on making sure another person is comfortable can make you forget about your own needs. It’s precisely for these reasons that you should take an occasional break.
First of all, to be able to care for somebody dear to you, you need to be in a good physical and mental shape, which you can only achieve if you take good care of yourself as well. Finding time to indulge yourself, to have fun and relax is crucial in order for you not to lose yourself in the process of tending to somebody else. It’s perfectly understandable that you want to get out of the house on your own sometimes, that you want to take a long bath, watch TV or read a book. This is something respite care can allow you, and it’s nothing to be ashamed or insecure about. Only when you’re well will you be able to properly attend to others.
Healthier Family Relationships
The fact that your loved ones can’t live alone anymore can be painful to both parties, the caregiver and the caretaker. Sometimes it’s hard for somebody to accept that they aren’t as independent as they used to be, or that they need help with even the basic daily necessities. On the other hand, you might find being there for somebody all of the time exhausting. In the meantime, you’re not left with enough time for other family members. This can lead to resentment and even despair, which can damage your family relationships. In order to avoid this, you and the caretaker should have time away from each other and be in contact with other people, engage in activities that interest you or merely change your scenery.
By utilizing respite care, you can contribute significantly to a positive atmosphere within your family. For instance, some respite care services include taking your loved one to their own facilities for a few hours, a weekend or a few weeks, in case you need to travel for some reason or you want to spend more time with your partner or children. That way, your elderly family member can have some vacation-like time in an appealing environment, with support of skilled staff who’ll cater to all of their needs. Some time apart can boost everybody’s mood, improve your mutual communication and enhance the general functionality of your family.
It’s impossible to stay at a person’s side around the clock. It’s normal that you have to go to work, get groceries and run different errands. While this may not have been problematic a few years ago, it doesn’t mean you can go out so carelessly for an hour or two at a time now. With age, people become more accident-prone and it might be risky to leave them alone when you have to be somewhere else. With respite care, this is something you don’t have to worry about. When you have obligations that require you to leave home, you’ll know that somebody will stay with your elderly loved one, making sure that they’re supervised and safe. Just knowing that somebody will be there to hand them a glass of water when they’re thirsty and take them to the bathroom when they need to go can bring you relief of great proportions.
In addition, you’ll know someone will be there to react if there’s a health issue or any type of medical emergency involving the caretaker, and that they’ll know exactly what to do in such a situation. Finding somebody reliable to monitor your loved one and be there to support them while you’re not at home is priceless, so make sure you hire only the most committed professionals. That way, your mind will always be at ease while you’re away.
If respite care is something you’ve considered, but were hesitant about, you should know it’s probably the best way to improve your own and your caretaker’s quality of life. You’ll get to have some rest, relax and be able to shift your attention to other things in your life, while your loved one will be safe and well taken care of.