“I have the right to maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person and I have the right to do something just for myself.”
When caring for a loved one full-time it is hard to make time for your personal needs. Even if you:
1. Identify yourself as a caregiver
2. Seek help from a physician or support system and,
3. Identify the aspects of your life before caregiving that you miss.
it can be difficult to set aside the time to follow through with the activities that you make you relaxed and happy; it is with this struggle that many caregivers seek respite care services.
“Respite care provides short term breaks that relieve stress, restore energy, and promoted balance in your life. Respite can take many forms, but boils down to two basic ideas: sharing the responsibility for caregiving and getting support for yourself. Finding the right balance requires persistence, patience, and preparation.”
This service can take many forms. It can be as easy as setting a “respite zone” in your house, wherein you dedicate a space and time for things that you enjoy, or asking a family member to step in for you one or two hours a week.
The key to planning respite care, says helpguide.org, is identifying your key needs as a provider. Once you had identified your needs there are a plethora of respite service options available.
• asking a family member or friend to stay with the patient for an hour or two
• taking him to adult daycare (if ambulatory)
• employing a professional sitter or healthcare aide for a few hours a week or month
• hiring a college student (if skilled care is not needed) to stay with him
• enrolling the person in your care in a support group.
Check with your local Area Agency on Aging for respite-care programs in your area. Larger churches often have outreach programs that include respite care.
Once you have your respite services in place fill out this respite caregiver checklist . It will help you feel comfortable leaving your loved one in the care of someone else if you know all their needs are accounted for, in writing. For more information on respite care services please see http://www.helpguide.org/elder/respite_care.htm.
The website offers resources for identifying the right respite care service for you, as well as screening tips, and resources to help you gain access to free services.