According to AARP, more than 53 million adults in the United States provide unpaid care to someone over the age of 50. Long-term caregiving comes with a fairly heavy physical, emotional and economic burden. If you’re a primary caregiver for an aging parent or loved one, you may experience exhaustion, stress, depression and sickness. Your health and well-being are important, and giving yourself a break from those responsibilities can be critical. This is where respite care can help.
- More than 53 million adults in the U.S. provide unpaid care to someone over the age of 50.
- Respite care can provide a much-needed break for full-time caregivers.
- Respite care is also a great way for older adults to meet new people or test out a new living situation.
- Costs for respite care range from $70 to $235 a day, depending on the facility and level of care needed.
What is respite care?
Respite care is a type of short-term senior care that fills in the gaps when a full-time caregiver isn’t available. It can be for a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks, and it usually involves either in-home care or a short stay in a care facility, depending on your needs.
Benefits of respite care for caregivers
Caring for an older adult or a person with disabilities can be a full-time job with little to no time for personal activities. Generally speaking, respite care provides breaks for caregivers, whether they need a few hours of personal time or a few days for a vacation. Here are six ways respite care can help you if you’re a caregiver.
You get to relax
When caring for someone who needs constant support, there can be little time to relax or do something for yourself. Respite care can provide a necessary break during the day. You can use this time how you see fit, doing whatever it is that makes you feel refreshed. This could include walking in the park, visiting a museum or even taking an uninterrupted nap.
You get social engagement
Depending on the mental and physical capabilities of the person you’re caring for, you might get limited social interaction throughout your day as a caregiver. Finding time to meet up with friends, family or other loved ones is very important to your overall happiness.
Whether it’s for a lunch meetup or a date night out, respite care offers opportunities to be with people your age who share similar interests.
You get to re-energize
Finding the energy to approach each day as a caregiver can be difficult, so respite care is there when a break is needed. Taking time to recharge is a critical part of being a caregiver, so you may need to utilize respite care when you feel drained or emotionally unavailable.
You get peace of mind
When caring for someone, your brain is always on alert for a problem. This can lead to overstimulation and never feeling at ease throughout the day. With respite care, someone else is taking care of your loved one for you, which can give you some much-needed peace of mind.
You get to rediscover your sense of self
It can be hard to feel like a “normal person” when taking care of someone all day, every day. However, caregivers are people too. Many people utilize respite care to get the personal space they need to live a full life and pursue their hobbies and interests while still caring for their loved ones.
You get a vacation
As a caregiver, it can feel like taking a vacation is out of the question. Knowing your loved one is safe while you’re gone can make a vacation feel more achievable, though.
Respite care gives you the freedom to still do the things you love with the people you love without feeling restricted by your duties. The more time you take to do the things you love, the easier it is to provide care when you’re on duty.
Benefits of respite care for seniors
In addition to helping caregivers, respite care also provides several benefits for their loved ones.
They get to meet new people
Just as respite care offers caregivers the time and space to be with other people, it gives their loved ones the benefit of interacting with others. They can meet new caregivers which can lead to new friendships.
Social interaction is good for mental health, and the more friendships seniors and people with disabilities build, the more they may want to get out of the house.
Bibliography: Sansano, Taylor. “9 Benefits of Respite Care (2022) | ConsumerAffairs.” ConsumerAffairs, ConsumerAffairs, 7 Sept. 2017, https://www.consumeraffairs.com/health/elderly-respite-care-benefits.html.