What is respite care, and what are the benefits for caregivers?

What Is Respite Care?

In Health by Companions for Seniors

Have you ever heard the term “respite care?”

Sometimes, people refer to the service we provide at Companions for Seniors as respite care. But what does this phrase really mean – and is it the right fit for you and your family?

What Do I Need to Know About Respite Care?

Broadly speaking, the idea of respite care comes from acknowledging that caring for other people can feel like a full time job – and that caregivers deserve a break.

Whether you’re tending to an elderly loved one, or someone who is sick or disabled, being a caregiver is work. There’s no doubt about that. From getting prescriptions filled, to tending to housekeeping, to providing driving services and emotional support, it can take a lot of labor to provide for your loved one.

In fact, it can be so physically and emotionally challenging to be a caregiver for a loved one that many people ultimately suffer from burnout, or end up getting sick or worn down themselves.

That’s where respite care comes in. In practical terms, respite care is about giving relief to caregivers. It’s about hiring a professional to step in, so that you can take a break and rest, recharge, or refocus on your own life, for however long you need.

Whether you need to take care of things in your own household, take a vacation, exercise, or get some work done, bringing on a caregiver can help make life easier in a pinch.

How Does It Work?

When you need time off from caring for your loved one around-the-clock, that’s where respite care starts. You can schedule care for as long as you and your loved one may need, whether that’s just an afternoon, an entire day, or a few days per week.

There are some group respite care programs available at community centers, adult day care centers, or assisted living facilities.

But for many people, in-home care might be the best option. In many cases, it’s less expensive, more convenient, and makes things easier for you and for your loved one. This way, your family member gets to stay in the comfort of his or her home, a place where they may feel more comfortable and secure.

Your in-home respite care provider can help fill many different roles at once. For starters, your caregiver might act as a fun, friendly companion, providing great company and helping your loved one stay socially fulfilled and engaged. At the same time, respite care providers can help your loved one in countless other ways:

  • Assist with activities of daily living, like bathing, grooming, dressing, using the bathroom
  • Help with meal prep and eating
  • Aid in light housekeeping, like dusting, vacuuming, doing the laundry, or shopping
  • Offer medication reminders
  • Provide driving services to transport your loved one to appointments, grocery stores, and other errands

Another thing to consider? Some caregivers will be able to go to your loved one, even if they’re staying in a hospital or rehab center. This way, you can provide a watchful eye and the comforts of home, even when your loved one has to spend a little time away.

The Benefits of Respite Care

There’s nothing selfish about needing some relief from caring for your loved one. In many cases, bringing on a professional caregiver can help give you a necessary break, and may help you avoid the stress and exhaustion that comes with caring for someone around the clock.

Remember, taking care of someone else doesn’t mean that you have to stop caring for yourself! And you and your loved one might both reap the benefits. Taking some time to refuel, relax, or knock some things off of your personal “to-do” list can ultimately help you be a better caregiver. Even a short break every now and then can make all the difference, giving you new energy and focus when you return to caregiving. At the same time, your loved one may benefit from getting the chance to connect with someone new. What’s more, your professional care provider may be able to be there at times when you just can’t – which could make all the difference in a crisis.  

Getting Started With In-Home Care

Having the “home care” conversation with a senior parent or family member isn’t always easy, but it’s often necessary.

As you get started considering respite care as an option for yourself and your family, it’s important to consider a few things. Besides matters of pricing and payment, it’s important to find a service that will truly work for your needs. How long do they offer care sessions? Do they offer scheduling that will work for you? Do they offer transportation services? Are their caregivers specially trained and insured?

If you have any questions or want to get the conversation started, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Companions for Seniors. We’re here and happy to be your sounding board as you and your loved ones prepare to transition into a new phase.

About Companions for Seniors

Our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community and nurturing meaningful relationships. While helping seniors maintain a higher quality of life, we also provide peace of mind and respite for a family caregiver who may need some support.

We are locally owned in Chicago, with clients in the city and suburbs. All of our companions are trained, bonded, and insured, and can assist your loved one in many different ways. From one hour to 24 hours a day, we can be there for your loved one. We understand that every situation is unique, so we provide a personalized care plan that’s modified to meet each client’s specific needs. As a client’s situation changes, so does our plan of care.