You’ve no doubt heard of the term ‘respite care’, but do you know exactly what it entails, or how it can benefit you if you are caring for an elderly loved one? Short-term respite care is in high demand, and we know how important these breaks are for both the carer AND the person being cared for.
We’ve put together a guide on respite care; explaining the different types available, and looking at how it can help you better fulfil your role as a carer for someone you love.
What Exactly Is Respite Care?
According to the dictionary the word ‘respite’ means ‘a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant’, and while only a part of that sentence is true when it comes to needing a break from caring for an elderly member of the family, a lot of carers feel guilty about turning to others for help.
But there’s no need to feel guilty – wanting a rest from the responsibility of being the main carer for a loved one doesn’t mean for one second that you find your role – or the person you are caring for – intolerable.
Respite care gives you the opportunity to have a break safe in the knowledge that your loved one is in the care of a professional.
Why Is It So Important?
In order to care for someone to the best of your ability, it’s important to take care of your own health and wellbeing too – and respite care allows you time for this. Maybe you have other family commitments….maybe you want to catch up with a friend….or maybe you just want some time to yourself to rest and recuperate. Caring for someone else is exhausting and can be all-consuming, and if you get too run-down then you won’t be able to continue to provide good care for your loved one.
Perhaps it’s your loved one who has reasons for needing respite care; if they are recovering from an operation or illness for example and need short term specialist care, but without the upheaval of going into hospital. Maybe they are considering their options when it comes to moving into residential care, and they’d like to see what a place is like before they make a decision. Or it could be that they want a holiday, but with care built into the trip.
The Different Types of Respite Care
Respite Holidays – We’ll start with this one as it’s often the type that people are most unaware of. There are specialist organisations that provide respite holidays for elderly clients. Of course, the carer can attend too, but the idea is to give both parties some respite and so care can be provided during the course of the holiday.
Intermediate Care – This type of respite care is provided by the NHS and is available for up to six weeks following a hospital admission.
Friends And Family – This seems an obvious one, but if you need a break maybe another family member or a friend could take over for a while. This isn’t always possible of course if they have work commitments or a family, or don’t live close by.
At Home Care – This is generally the preferred option, and is where Care In Kent comes in. Home care involves dedicated and compassionate members of our team coming to provide respite care in your loved one’s one home. The huge advantage to this type of respite care is that elderly people more often than not feel much safer and more comfortable in a familiar environment, surrounded by their own things. It can also make the transition from one carer to another – even though it’s not permanent – much easier, particularly if your loved one is suffering from dementia. At-home care can be 100% tailored to suit your needs – whether you want someone there to ‘take over’ for the whole day, or you just need an hour out.
Respite care shouldn’t be seen as a ‘cop out’, or that you’re somehow shirking your responsibilities; when you are caring for someone an occasional break is a necessity, not a luxury! And not only that, it’s also a break for the person being cared for – either a change of scenery or a new face – while still receiving all the support they need.
If you want to know more about respite care, and how Care In Kent can help you, please do get in touch.