Respite Care: Learn About Respite Care


The following pages will highlight the importance of giving yourself -- or the primary caregiver -- a break. Be sure to browse the links in the top right corner to learn all about Respite Care.

Repeat this mantra ten times a day: Taking breaks makes me a better, happier, healthier caregiver.  Intellectually, we all know it's true, but we put it aside. We worry our loved one will miss us, that they won't be taken care of "quite the same," tell ourselves it's too much trouble, that we won't be able to find good care ...but it is.

Respite care can literally help your mental and physical health. The National Family Caregiver Alliance states that 40-70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression and approximately 25-50% of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Other studies show a correlation between caregiver stress and obesity, insomnia, diabetes, heart disease, and immunological deficiencies.  So, there is a physical impact of caregiving that shouldn't be ignored, and respite helps caregivers avert the negative toll it can take on their health.

What's the hardest part about respite care? Believing you deserve it, and that it will actually make you a better caregiver. Well, that and taking the first step. As a caregiver, you're used to rallying the troops. You know how to get things done, so now it's time to utilize those amazing planning skills for your own benefit.

Respite care may include breaks of:

  • A few hours
  • Overnight
  • A few days a week
  • A long weekend
  • Several weeks

Respite care can be offered by:

Low Cost Options Private Pay Options
  • Extended Family Members
  • Friends/recommended friends of friends
  • Neighbors
  • Non-profit organizations such as church members/volunteers
  • Comunity volunteers/disease specific volunteers
  • County or state progams or private adult day care
  • A caregiving/respite co-op that you find or start
  • Companion care (day stays or overnight stays) offered by home health agencies or found individually
  • Residential care facilities that offer overnight/weekend/extended stay
  • Give yourself daily respite. Don't wait until you can take a whole week off to give yourself a break. Try a three-minute mini-break. (That can seem monumental at first, but like weight training, you get stronger and it gets easier with each attempt). Also find in-home care providers who can give you a break.

    >> Getting Help for Families who need Respite Care

    >> Recharge in 15 Minutes or Less

    >> Read our interview with Louise Bruce about Help for Families who need Respite Care.

    More Senior Care Services

    >> Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

    Next: How to Get "Respite Minutes" »
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