April 12, 2010
"I'm taking time to take care of myself."
Respite care refers to short-term, temporary care provided to someone who needs assistance so that a family caregiver can take a break from the daily routine, challenges and stress of caring for an aging adult. Respite is often referred to as the gift of time.
Respite services may involve overnight care for an extended period of time such as when the caregiver's family takes a vacation. Or respite care can be for just a few hours a day or week to give the caregiver some time off to take a break, exercise, conduct personal business or even visit with friends.
"This [respite care] allows family caregivers some time away, while knowing that their relative is getting the care and companionship he or she needs," says Richard Schulz, Ph.D., caregiver stress expert at the University of Pittsburgh.
While respite care may require some financial outlay, it must be weighed as an option to support the mental stability and health of the family caregiver. Even using just a couple of the services (errands and shopping) can lessen the burden of caregiving considerably.
Agencies that provide information and services are hospice care, home health agencies, non-medical senior care agencies, social services, private nursing companies, senior centers, churches or the National Family Caregivers Association.
There are many ways to de-stress as a caregiver. Surely you deserve a break.
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