For those caring for a spouse, family member or loved one, respite care can provide a lifeline in times of stress and a welcome break from your day-to-day care routine. Whether it’s to allow you to run errands, visit family or friends or simply to enjoy some time to yourself, a respite carer can take over responsibilities of care-giving for however long is necessary.
But making that decision is often very difficult, and introducing a respite carer to your established routine can be disruptive. How, then, do you make the most of respite care, and how do you manage the transition from the care you provide to that given by a healthcare professional? This is a particular concern for those caring for people affected by dementia, when an unfamiliar face is often upsetting or confusing. So let’s look at some of the ways you can make respite care work for you and your family.
Trust and Communication are Essential
Handing over some of your care responsibilities to a third party can be a little daunting, especially if you’ve been your loved one’s primary carer for a long time, but it’s essential that you trust the respite carer from the word go. They’re professionals, and will happily tailor the care they provide to suit your needs and the needs of the person being cared for.
Think of them as your “partners in care”. You both want what’s best for the person being cared for, and the only way this can be achieved is if both you and the care professional communicate with one another. Tell the carer everything they need to know before they begin – no detail, however trivial it may seem, is too small. Be clear and open with them at all times, about the care recipient’s likes, and dislikes and any specific requirements they may have.
When coming up to a period of respite care, do your best to reassure the care recipient, particularly if they’re affected by learning difficulties or dementia. Prepare them for the respite carer, making sure they’re aware of what is going to happen, and that they have nothing to worry about. Even if you’re feeling anxious about spending time away from them, remind them that the short break is a positive thing for you.
Begin With Shorter Breaks
It may be a good idea to start off with shorter periods of respite care, to allow both you and the care recipient to adjust to this change in your routine. Over time, increase the duration of each break. You may want to begin by being around for the first few sessions, to help make the transition a little easier for everyone involved.
Enjoy Your Time
Whatever you do while your loved one is with a respite carer, use that time to relax and enjoy yourself. This is your chance to recharge your batteries, so make the most of it!
For more information about our respite care services, please contact us using our online form.