When you took on the job of caring for your elderly parent or other loved one, you probably did it out of love and did not think of it as a chore. After all, this person cared for you at one time in your life, and you are happy to pay it back in their time of need. However, if this caregiving arrangement is going to be sustainable, you must plan breaks for yourself. Sometimes called respite in the context of caregiving, these breaks will be vital to your ability to provide patient, loving care for the long term.
What Is Respite?
Respite services provide a trustworthy, qualified person to step in and fulfill your caregiving duties for a short period of time so that you can get a break. In order for respite to be most effective, it should be beneficial and meaningful for both you and your loved one. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Plan for respite well before you need it. Don’t wait until you are exhausted and angry to look for a replacement. As soon as you start providing care for your loved one, locate a respite service or facility and schedule regular sessions, even if you don’t think you’ll need a break.
- Make the most of your time away. Respite should not be thought of solely as your errand time, although you might choose to get some tasks done during your break. Instead, think of it as a time to rest and recharge. It might mean going to an exercise class or movie, having lunch with a friend, or simply being alone to read a book.
- Try to combine respite with other services and assistance. If you find you need emotional and social support as a caregiver, you could schedule respite sessions so that you can go to therapy, meetings, or support groups. If your loved one has regular appointments to go to, such as physical therapy or counseling, perhaps the respite provider could be tasked with taking them.
It’s important to schedule respite services and let everyone involved with your loved one know about it. As a caregiver, you need this guaranteed time away to look forward to, and your loved one needs to be prepared for the change.
How Can I Find a Respite Provider?
There are several options for respite care in most communities, including some government programs funded by Medicaid, Medicare, the VA, and the state of Texas, if your loved one qualifies for financial assistance. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services provides a searchable list of respite providers and programs to help you get started. Options you can consider include:
- Family members. Many people turn to family members to take their place when they need a break. This is a great option if your siblings, children, or others are competent and reliable. If you are counting on a family member for respite care, however, it’s important that you schedule the time in advance and that they honor their commitment to you and the care recipient.
- In-home care. There are trustworthy companies that provide trained, vetted people to come into your loved one’s home to care for them while you are gone. If you are using a service like this, be sure to clearly communicate your loved one’s needs. You might even be able to find a caregiver who can provide special services such as physical therapy or who will take your loved one on an outing.
- Outside facilities. Adult daycare centers, community senior centers, assisted living facilities, and some nursing homes can be good options if you are able to transport your loved one to them. Signing your loved one up for one or two sessions in a day program each week can be beneficial to both of you.
To locate the services in your community, ask doctors, social workers, friends, and neighbors for recommendations. Remember, your emotional wellbeing is as important as your elderly loved one’s care, so you should never feel guilty about scheduling some time apart.
Are You Looking for an Elder Law Attorney in Texarkana, TX?
If you are looking for elder law assistance, you need to speak with an experienced elder law attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, Longview as well as Magnolia, AR!