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Thursday, 12 November 2015 00:00

Respite care must be given to all carers

Caring for someone full time is stressful and exhausting. It also does not begin at 8am and end at 5pm, nor are there any weekend breaks. This is where the condition “caregiver burnout” stems from; a common effect of a carer not taking any time for themselves. Respite care offers a short term care solution to a patient in order for a full time carer to take a break from their duties and “recharge”.

Without respite, a carer can suffer from the debilitating side effects of extreme stress, which may render them unable to function or may result in certain life-threatening conditions.

Carers can choose to take a day or even a few weeks off using the various options available. Patients can be cared for by a family member at home, a volunteer, or a paid service either in the home or at an adult day care facility. There are also a variety of respite care options that you can consider. Such as:

  • Companion services for supervised activities at various times of the day.
  • Home health or care aide services to assist with daily activities such as bathing, going to the toilet, getting dressed and exercising.
  • Nursing services to ensure medications are properly administered or dressings changed frequently.
  • Night services if a carer is not getting adequate sleep due to a patients restlessness at night.
  • Cleaning services to help with cleaning, laundry, shopping and preparing meals.

You owe it to yourself

It is common for a caregiver to feel guilty or undeserving of a break. They may feel terrible about leaving someone who trusts them. These feelings can arise regardless of whether a carer takes a few hours or a few weeks off. However, caring has to be seen in the same way as any other paying job, and no professional would work non-stop without any time off to take care of themselves and do things they enjoy outside of their daily duties.

If you are a carer and feel you could not leave the person you care for, then you must speak to a medical professional who can advise you on ways to cope and the various respite options available to you. 

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