Caregiver’s Corner-What about Respite Care?

May 23, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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All Friday posts are dedicated to helping caregivers to care for themselves while caring for their loved ones.

The words caregiver and stress seem to be synonymous. Sometimes there is support from family and sometimes there isn’t. No matter what, caregiving is difficult work and you deserve a break.

Just in case you don’t believe it, let’s take a look at some of the key indicators of caregiver stress adapted from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Answer these questions to see if YOU need a break

  • Has your sleep pattern changed? Do you sleep much more or less than you used to?
  • Have you generally lost interest in the things you used to enjoy?
  • Have you gained or lost weight as a result of eating too much or too little?
  • Are you a-l-w-a-y-s tired? Even when you first get up.
  • Are you easily agitated and irritated?
  • Do you have aches and pains such as: headache/ stomach ache? Do you have other physical issues going on?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are probably stressed AND you should consider respite care.

What is respite care?

Respite care is designed to provide a much needed break to those who care for sick, injured or just plain frail.

Respite care can take place in the home or in a care facility. The level and length just depends on the needs of the patient and the caregiver. For example, respite care can include any of the following (and many more options as well):

  • A couple of days each week spent at an adult day care facility
  • A home health care worker spending time keeping the patient company in his or her own home.
  • The patient spending a week or so in a nursing facility.

No matter what form the respite care takes, the ultimate objective, according to, is “To provide caregivers with planned temporary, intermittent, substitute care, allowing for relief from the daily responsibilities of caring for the care recipient. Respite care is essential for all caregivers, whether they work in a caregiving facility or at home with family members or close friends.”

During my 5th year of taking care of my mom, I got sick. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. They said I had a viral infection and I should rest. Additional appointments really lead to no definitive findings. It wasn’t until I got some real rest, changed my caregiving approach and most of all began to take care of myself that I began to get better. Respite care can help you to regroup and recharge for the important work that lies ahead of you.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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