When Is Respite Care Needed for Family Caregivers?
America is filled with unrecognized heroes. One group whose selflessness is consistently overlooked is family caregivers. Over 15 million Americans support family members through at-home care and assistance, providing over 17 billion combined hours of unpaid care each year. But even if that care is unpaid, it still comes at a cost, as any caregiver who’s suffered from caregiver stress syndrome can tell you. Respite Care for Family Caregivers
Too often, family caregivers find themselves overtaxed, over-stressed, and overwhelmed. This puts caregivers at risk of burnout and can lead to high levels of mental and physical strain. One solution is respite care by family members, home health care professionals, or non-medical home care agencies.
Respite care gives family caregivers a way to make time for self-care, even while remaining their loved one’s primary caregiver. If you think you might benefit from respite care, consider the following…
Are You at Risk of Caregiver Stress & Burnout?
Family caregivers tend to go above and beyond when caring for their loved ones, but this can often result in caregivers stretching themselves thin — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many family caregivers spend more time on care than they would at a full-time job, and it can sometimes feel like your loved one’s care has taken over your life. Respite Care for Family Caregivers
This results in what is called caregiver stress or, in the most extreme cases, caregiver burnout. Some of the signs of caregiver burnout include:
- Anxiety, anger, and depression
- Exhaustion and lack of sleep
- Sudden changes in eating habits
- Fluctuations in weight and physical fitness
- Over-reliance on medications, alcohol, or other drugs
- Feelings of resentment toward the care recipient
While steps such as meditation, therapy, or a healthier lifestyle can relieve caregiver stress, sometimes these changes aren’t enough. When this is the case, you may need another person who can help share the load and give you the time you need to take care of yourself.
Options for Respite Care
There are a few different types of respite care available to family caregivers, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Respite Care for Family Caregivers
Before turning to professional respite care providers, see if family members can assist with care. While family members won’t have the experience or training of a professional caregiver, they will have a pre-existing relationship with your loved one. That relationship is often invaluable when caring for an elderly person.
Other options include medical and non-medical respite care. Which kind of care you choose will depend on your loved one’s specific care needs. If your loved one relies on you for help with taking medications, for instance, then medical home care will be your best choice. On the other hand, if your loved one does not need medical assistance, then non-medical home care is often the more affordable option.
If you’re looking for non-medical respite care, you may wish to consider your local Visiting Angels home care agency. Visiting Angels caregivers offer flexible care plans, including respite care, to help share the load with family caregivers.