Caring for an elderly loved one can and will be taxing. Even the most devoted daughter or son risks burnout and personal health problems while carrying this massive responsibility. The nuances of care and its challenges are seismic enough to alter the dynamics of a family. That is why it is critical to consider respite care services as soon as possible. Because, as you will soon discover, it not only revitalizes tired family caregivers, but it also restores relationships.
A Daughter and Her Dying Mother Mend Their Relationship
Jennifer was the sole caregiver for her mother, Mickey, for many years. As a daughter taking on the role of caregiver, this entailed handling day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, doctor’s visits, budgeting, and so on. But the weight of Jennifer’s responsibilities, as a mother in her late 50s, was becoming more apparent.
“It got to the point where I would come in and clean for Jennifer and gradually notice other things that needed to be dealt with,” says Lisa Grote, who eventually provided Jennifer with the respite care she so desperately needed. “Jennifer became ill (as a result of stress-related illnesses), and her mother didn’t understand because she had dementia. Jennifer’s mother became more difficult to deal with as her condition worsened, and they would argue.”
Jennifer’s gallbladder failed and needed to be surgically removed, as well as surgery for diverticulitis, as a result of burnout from caregiving duties, according to Jennifer and her peers. Jennifer was out of the caregiving world for a little more than a year due to medical complications, so full-time respite care became necessary. “Once professional caregiving was introduced, and Mrs. Mahaney became accustomed to the presence of caregivers in her home, life seemed to slow down and become a little easier,” Lisa says.
Meanwhile, respite care allowed Jennifer to rest and gradually resume regular visits with her mother, and Lisa noticed their relationship improving from what she had witnessed during her previous visits. Jennifer’s first visit after her surgery was brief, but the time she spent with her mother grew, and the hard feelings began to fade.
“It was a very long and stressful period in their lives,” Lisa explained. “The mother did not want her daughter to become ill as a result of stress-related illnesses, and the daughter did not want her mother to feel abandoned if she sought respite. Something had to give, and Jennifer’s health, unfortunately, took a dive before anything could be done.”
Jennifer’s caregiving experience demonstrates the importance of identifying stress early on, before it leads to poor health and strained relationships between an aging loved one and a relative. Jennifer may not have become physically ill as a result of her caregiving, but the effects of burnout are real and palpable. Mickey and Jennifer’s relationship was restored by respite care because they valued their time together as mother and daughter.
“By the time Jennifer was getting better, their relationship was starting to look like it did before Mrs. Mahaney got sick, which was a good thing because Mrs. Mahaney died about a year or two later,” Lisa says.
Answers to 7 Common Concerns About Respite Care
Many of us have been caregivers for an aging spouse, parent, or grandparent at some point in our lives. In the early stages, most people find caregiving manageable. However, as your loved one ages and their care needs become more intensive, you may find yourself at a higher risk of caregiver burnout. To avoid burnout, it is critical to seek assistance, either from other family members or through respite care services.
The majority of caregiving tasks are performed by professional caregivers in traditional home care services, with family caregivers acting as a support role. The roles are reversed in respite care. Family caregivers continue to be the primary caregivers, but they are assisted by professional caregivers. Family caregivers can reduce their risk of caregiver burnout in this way.
You can rely on professional caregivers for respite care…
Provide assistance with difficult or stressful care activities.
When you have other obligations, look after your loved one.
Assist you in making time for your personal well-being.
In perplexing or difficult situations, offer guidance and support.
Despite the obvious benefits of respite care, many people are hesitant to use it. Family caregivers frequently feel guilty about reducing their caregiving workload. At times, they are concerned about their loved one’s security and safety. In some cases, they are concerned that home care will be inconvenient for their finances, lifestyle, or schedule.
Fortunately, many of these fears are unfounded or easily addressed by hiring the right agency.
Common Respite Care Concerns
Is it possible for my family to afford respite care?
Respite care, like other types of home care, is usually charged by the hour. While hourly rates and minimum visit lengths vary by agency, this gives you financial flexibility when scheduling care. Most agencies will gladly collaborate with you to reduce care costs wherever possible.
Will care be scheduled in a way that is convenient for both me and my loved one?
Do you require respite care on a specific day and time each week? Are you concerned about keeping your loved one’s routine? If this is the case, you may be concerned about your respite care scheduling options. Again, scheduling policies will differ between agencies. However, the vast majority of respite care providers will offer you options that are tailored to your specific needs, routine, and lifestyle.
How will caregivers respond to my loved one’s specific requirements?
Caregiving is intensely personal. Every care recipient has different needs, limitations, and preferences, so it is critical that care is tailored to the individual. A high-quality caregiving agency will go to great lengths to customize your loved one’s care services.
What if my family member requires specialized care?
Seniors suffering from significant physical or cognitive decline may necessitate specialized care. If your loved one requires assistance with personal activities such as bathing or toileting, you will require the services of a respite care agency. Similarly, if your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you will require memory care caregivers.
What can I do to ensure that my loved one is safe and secure?
Many family caregivers are concerned about leaving their loved one in the care of others. While this instinct is understandable, it should not prevent you from receiving the necessary relief. If you are concerned about caregiver safety, look for organizations that conduct background checks on caregivers. Another smart strategy is to attend the first few sessions with your loved one’s caregiver. You’ll be able to get a sense of their approach and begin to build a rapport this way.
Will my loved one be given the same level of attention?
You are the only one who truly understands your loved one. As a result, you may be concerned that a respite caregiver will not provide nearly the same level of care. This is one of the most significant barriers that family members face when it comes to respite care. However, when they see professional caregivers at work, their concern often dissipates. Our caregivers at Right Choice Home Care® take great pride in their work and treat their clients with the utmost care, respect, and compassion.
Is it really necessary for me to hire respite services?
Many family caregivers are resistant to the idea of respite care, no matter how overwhelmed, exhausted, or strained they become. This resistance is frequently motivated by feelings of guilt. When family members hire outside caregivers, they feel as if they have failed their loved one during a time of great need.
Another way to look at this is that without respite care, you risk providing subpar care to your loved one. If you are constantly stressed and exhausted, you will be less patient with your loved one, more prone to making mistakes, and at a higher risk of total burnout.
Caregiving will become more manageable with respite services, giving you more time to care for yourself. In the end, it is frequently the best thing you can do for your loved one.