Have any questions? Connect With Prodigy
Follow Us on Facebook  

What is Respite Care and Why is it Important?

Dementia Does Not Mean That All Hope is Lost
February 17, 2022
Are There Ways To Reduce Sundowning Symptoms?
April 28, 2022

The term “respite care” is one that is often misunderstood. For those who utilize respite care services, it is something they can’t do without. For others, it may bring to mind selfishness or they may think it is a service that isn’t really necessary. To understand why respite care is so important, we must first understand exactly what it is.

What is respite care?

Being a full-time caregiver requires a lot from a person. Respite care is a service that provides much-needed support for these caregivers by giving them a temporary break from the day-to-day care required by a loved one with special assistance needs. Respite care offers relief to caregivers who need to rest or recharge, have an emergency situation where they temporarily cannot assist their family member, or have other scheduling conflicts.

It is a temporary care service that can be provided for a few hours or a few weeks as a one-time service or one that is provided on a regular basis for caregiver support. Respite care is typically provided for individuals with disabilities, terminal illnesses, memory issues, or chronic health conditions.

Why is respite care important?

Respite care should not be looked at as being a luxury for the caregiver, but instead, as a support system. Numerous studies have shown that individuals who are full-time caregivers for family members with special assistance needs are at a much higher risk for stress-related chronic illnesses and depression. The stress of being a caregiver can take as many as 10 years off their lifespan, and those who provide full-time care are twice as likely to suffer from a chronic condition than those who do not.

Regular breaks for the caregiver are highly recommended to avoid caregiver burnout before it occurs. These respites benefit not only the caregiver, but the family member as well.

What benefits does respite care offer the caregiver?

– Provides caregivers with the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate so that the care they give to their loved one is to the best of their ability. When a caregiver is able to refresh their spirit, their energy levels and patience is improved. Respite care is also proven to boost the caregiver’s immune system by giving the mind, body, and spirit a much-needed, and deserved, break.

– Respite care not only reduces the stress associated with being a caregiver, but also helps to remove the cause of depression and feelings of social isolation that often occur with caregivers. In order to provide the best care possible, those who are responsible for the full-time care of a loved one need to engage in a life apart from the needs of their family member. It is important that a caregiver be able to maintain friendships, their career, and other important relationships with their spouse, children, and other family members. These caregivers need a balance in their lives to address responsibilities that are not related to caregiving.

– Everyone needs a break from time to time, and caregivers are no exception. Respite care allows the caregiver to take a much-needed vacation, make a salon or spa appointment, get shopping done, visit friends or other relatives, and a host of other outings that can refresh the mind and spirit. Taking a break from time to time will improve the caregiver’s ability to cope with their responsibilities, reflect and gain a new perspective of their situation, and provide opportunities for self-growth.

What is caregiver burnout?

Regardless of your role in life, stretching yourself too thin or pushing yourself too hard can result in burnout. This is especially true for those whose role is that of a caregiver. The added stress that comes with this responsibility can set an individual up for a chronic illness that will leave them unable to care for their loved one. Respite care provides the opportunity for the caregiver to take care of themselves.

Signs of caregiver burnout:
– Social withdrawal
– Depression
– Forgetfulness
– Inability to focus
– Anxiety
– Inability to relax
– Irritability
– Exhaustion
– Sleep issues
– Lack of appetite

Caregiver burnout drains emotional, physical, and mental energy, and can lead to feelings of resentment when not addressed. As a caregiver, you should never feel guilty about utilizing respite care services. Doing so shows that you are taking responsibility as the caregiver of a person with special assistance needs to do what needs to be done in order to provide the best care possible for your loved one.

Prodigy Transitional Rehab offers temporary institutional care for a dependent elderly, ill, or handicapped person, providing much-needed relief for their usual caregivers. Our focus is on providing each patient with a positive respite care experience. Because of these positive experiences, a significant number of our patients return to Prodigy for future respite care needs. Contact us today to learn more.