Thursday, December 11, 2008

What every family caregiver should know about Respite Care

If you are a caregiver for a family member, than you know the cost of love. You are most likely...... using vacation time to care for a loved one when help is not available, missing your childrens important school functions and activities, having to leave work early, and arriving late. More times than not, family caregivers have to pass up opportunities for advancement they've worked a lifetime for because they cannot make a committment. There is no time to take care of their own needs and they are tired all the time. Most importantly, less time becomes available to spend with spouse, relationships become jeopardized.

Caring for a family member who is ill or frail can become a 24 hour a day job, usually neglecting your own needs and health. The caregiver becomes drained by the ongoing, every day, responsibility of delivering care, yet, feels an obligation to continue. Caregivers are at an increased risk for becoming depressed and stressed. Anxiety levels rise and as a result the caregiver may subconciously express and verbalize feelings of resentment towards their loved one.

Respite means taking a much needed break or rest from caring for a family member, who cannot care for themselves, before stress and anxiety occur. Respite is the primary mechanism a family caregiver has from the everyday, ongoing, never ending, sometimes,unrewarding job of caring for a family member 24/7. It has been estimated that caregivers provide an average of anywhere between 15-20 hours of care per week in addition to trying to hold on to a job and caring for family.

Respite provides relief from the overwhelming and tiresome task of caring for a loved one who is ill or has special needs. The family caregiver becomes resentful and the family member feels like a burden and therefore experiences guilt feelings, which most often can lead to depression. With respite, caregivers can have a more optimistic outlook about their ability to continue providing care because they were able to have some time for themselves..

Respite care can delay institutionalization of a loved one, thus, eliminating quilt feelings which are often associated with this seemingly selfish act of desperation. Caregivers are overcome by this desperate, helpless, hopeless feeling that it can only get worst and feel their only alternative or way out is institutionalizing the family member. Even though we really know deep down inside that our family members prefer the familiarity of their own home to being institutionalized.

What every caregiver giver wants and and needs the most is respite relief or a break from the everyday chore of caring for a family member. Studies have proven the value of respite to caregivers and their loved ones, it is quaranteed to take the edge off your tension. Respite benefits both the caregiver and the family member by renewing energy levels, reducing tension and strengthening relationships.

While on respite, spend time with family enjoying activities that had to be put aside. Spend time with spouse making up for lost precious moments and try to restore an almost lost relationship. Take a relaxing bubble bath, watch a movie, get a relaxing massage, take a warm soothing bubble bath or just do nothing. Whatever you do on respite make sure it reduces tension and stress and makes you happy.

Many homecare agencies and Assisted living facilities offer respite services for a fee, certain organizations will give you a few hours or sometimes days free of charge. If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to call me or e-mail me at " .

Vilma Vaccaro

Preferred Homecare Plus