7 Benefits of Respite Care: A Physical and Emotional Oasis for Caregivers

A recent Commonwealth Fund study reported that 60 percent of the family caregivers surveyed, ages 19-64, reported “fair or poor” health and one or more chronic conditions or disabilities, compared with only 33 percent of non-caregivers. This report comes as no surprise to family members who are the primary caregivers of loved ones who need help with everyday living. In fact, the physical, emotional and economic burdens on caregivers today can frequently become overwhelming without some form of personal support. 

All too often, the health and well-being of at-home caregivers is placed in serious jeopardy as a result of the stressful circumstances they face every day. Experts even refer to caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients as the “the second victims.” 

Respite Care Offers Relief and Renewal

Caregiving can be a highly demanding and stressful responsibility, and no one is equipped to do it without some help. Just like the loved ones they care for, caregivers also need support and attention to maintain their own health and well-being. Respite care, which provides caregivers with the opportunity for a temporary rest from their caregiving duties, is designed to do just that.

Respite care for loved ones provides short-term breaks for caregivers that can relieve their stress, renew their energy and restore a sense of balance to their lives. Respite care provides a period of freedom from caregiving duties, while loved ones continue to receive the care they require in a safe, caring and professional environment.

A “Win-Win” for Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

Marilyn Kerr, R.N., Director of Nursing at Saunders House, says, “Caring for a loved one at home can be rewarding, but at times it can also be very challenging. At leading senior living communities such as Saunders House, we understand the difficulties that can arise when caring for a loved one at home. We also understand that there are times that you won’t be available for your loved one due to vacations, business trips or just the need for a personal break.”  

“Respite care provides family caregivers and their loved ones with a break from the daily care routine. Caregivers are afforded some down time and can rest easy, while loved ones benefit from the care and support provided in a safe, nurturing environment. At Saunders House, we give you the time you need to ‘recharge your batteries’ so you can continue to provide the best care to your loved one in the future.”

“Loved ones placed in our care are also encouraged to take advantage of the lifestyle offered at Saunders House and are invited to take part in daily activities and special events.” 

The Multiple Benefits of Respite Care 

Personal support and maintaining your own health are essential to managing your responsibilities as a caregiver. Utilizing respite care before you become exhausted, isolated or overwhelmed can be invaluable to everyone concerned. Experts say that simply anticipating regularly scheduled relief can be an emotional lifesaver.

In addition to needed “downtime” for relaxation, respite care gives you a chance for personal revitalization by spending time with friends and family, shopping, exercising and doing the things that provide you with personal pleasure and fulfillment in your life. Respite care also offers the comfort and peace of mind of knowing that your loved one is spending time with other caring individuals in a safe, comfortable place. 

The article,Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers,” enumerates the valuable benefits respite care provides. These include:

  1. Renewal and Relaxation – Taking a walk, strolling leisurely through the mall, visiting a museum or doing whatever brings joy can calm you, decrease your heart rate and improve your mood.
  2. Energy – To be effective in your busy life, you must take time to re-energize. Even an automobile won’t run on empty.
  3. Space – Getting away from the caregiving situation for even just a few hours can help you relax and bring a renewed sense of purpose.
  4. Pleasure – As a caregiver, you must remember that you have the right to enjoy life. You have no reason to feel guilty.
  5. Identity – You must be purposeful in maintaining your sense of self. You are important, too!
  6. Perspective – Time away from caregiving allows you to see more clearly and keep things in proper perspective. You might even think of better ways of doing things and other resources you can tap into.
  7. Engagement – Social isolation can be a huge problem for caregivers. It’s important to take time to engage with your friends and family by sharing lunch, taking a shopping trip or doing whatever gives you personal enjoyment.

You Deserve a Break!

Unless you are Wonder Woman or Superman, it is important to remember that you can’t do it all. Be realistic — for your sake and your loved one’s. Seeking help is the responsible thing to do. Respite care can provide you with a feeling of revitalization and refreshment that can keep you whole – physically and mentally – and enable you to better spouse, parent, caregiver and person.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us. Please share your thoughts in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Hospital, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services including short-term rehabilitationtraditional nursing care, restorative carememory carerespite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our short-term rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100. You can also visit us online at www.saundershouse.org/.

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