Millions of Americans provide unpaid care to elderly family members, friends, and neighbors to help them remain in their homes as long as possible. Respite is defined as a temporary period of rest, and therefore respite care is a temporary break for caregivers of the ill or disabled. Respite care is an important resource for caregivers who can deal with high stress and the emotional toll that comes from caring for a sick or dying loved one.
Sometimes family members may be hesitant to use respite care and leave their loved one in the care of another. However, caregivers who take a break from the stresses associated with constant care have been shown to be less stressed and better able to care for their loved one when they return from their respite period. Respite care has been shown to help sustain caregivers’ health and wellbeing, avoid or delay placement in Assisted Living Facilities, and reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect.
Most often respite care takes place in the home where professional caregivers come to provide In Home Care. However, not all respite care is the same and encompasses a wide variety of services. For example, adult day care centers are becoming very popular as they are designed to provide care and companionship for elderly who need assistance or supervision during the day. There are also specialized facilities that provide where the care receiver can stay for a few days or a few weeks. Finally there are sitter-companion services that are usually provided by local civic groups, churches, or community organizations. A regular sitter-companion is typically a non professional who can come for a few hours once or twice a week to provide respite. The sitter-companion is generally trained in what to do in an emergency situation.
If you are a caregiver who is dealing with stress read tips in the answer to the question: How do I cope with the stress of caregiving?