Caring is one of the most demanding commitments you can ever experience. Whether it’s for a number of hours per week, or all day, every day, for a year, two years, however long... it’s exhausting.
66 per cent of carers have been caring for at least 10 years and 78 per cent of carers suffer mental health issues as a result of caring1. With this in mind, it’s very important that you and the person you are caring for receive regular respite.
Respite is normally arranged with local care facilities who can provide food, accommodation and medication supervision.
The reasons and the period of time you need to use respite care depends on many factors:
• you may be ill
• or wanting to go on holiday
• the person you care for may be rundown, in need of extra support
• or have an injury that needs regular medical attention.
One of the main reasons respite is suggested however, is to allow the carer some personal time. You may encounter mixed emotions about taking some time out; but it’s better to take a break, than breakdown!
So try not to feel guilty about a loved one entering a respite care home, as it's very important for you to have the opportunity to replenish your physical and mental energy.
Remember that people who are being cared for can find respite care enjoyable:
• they’re in a different environment where more support is available
• they can interact with new people
• different forms of entertainment and outings may be available.
Carers may feel obliged to visit their loved one whilst in respite. Everyone’s situation is different, but from the carer’s perspective having a full break seems to be of most benefit!
Some tips for preparation are:
• ask the care facility for a list of what needs taking in with them
• put your loved one's name into all their clothing
• take little or no jewellery, to avoid it being mislaid
• ask about the costs, as there can be different services available
• they may hold nominal funds for any necessary outings, newspapers, etc.
• consider engraving your loved one’s name on the arm of their glasses, these are easily mislaid
• dentures can be inscribed by your dentist.
It is through the dedication of the 6.5 million carers in the UK that enables so many people to remain in their own home. They deserve a huge thanks from all of us – and a break now and then too!
What do you think of respite care? Join our discussion.
1 Stats from Carers UK