Respite care is a break for the caregiver, and it allows them to seek occasional time off from the demands of caring for their loved one. Taking care of an elderly family member is both mentally and physically draining, and that’s why respite care is a necessity, not a luxury. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on respite care for your family member.
Involve Your Loved One
Let your loved one know that you will be needing some time away and that being refreshed and energized will make you a better caregiver. Tell them who will be filling in for you when you’re away and how long you will be gone. By involving your loved one in this process, you can prepare them for upcoming changes, and show them that their needs will continue to be met.
Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
If your loved one only requires minimum care, there will be more respite caregivers to choose from. However, if your parent needs more specialized care, you may have fewer options available. Still, it’s important to be honest about your loved one’s condition, and you need to be clear about which skills and experience the respite caregiver should have in order to be an effective care provider.
There are a variety of online tools and mobile apps that can help you stay on track, such as CarePages or Lotsa Helping Hands. It’s a good idea to have your schedule planned out several weeks in advance so that you can make arrangements for your loved one and also prepare them for when you will be gone. Respite care is flexible, so if you find that you need more of a break at certain times (holidays, summer vacation, etc.), you can make these changes in advance.
Reassess Your Needs
Your loved one’s health will likely change, so make sure that you keep the respite caregiver informed of these status updates. If your parent’s health deteriorates, keep in mind that you may need additional help. It’s easier to be a companion than it is a caregiver who has to administer medication and keep the home intact, so you may find yourself in need of more breaks as the demands rise.