Respite Care: Answers to 7 Common Concerns

At one point or another, many of us act as the caregiver for an aging spouse, parent, or grandparent. Most people find caregiving manageable in the early stages. But as your loved one grows older and their care needs become more intensive, you could find yourself at a growing risk for caregiver burnout. To avoid burnout, it’s important that you ask for help, either from other family members or through respite care services.

With traditional home care services, the majority of caregiving tasks are performed by professional caregivers, with family caregivers acting in a support role. With respite care, the roles are reversed. Family caregivers remain the primary care providers, but they’re supported by professional caregivers. This way, family caregivers can reduce their risk of suffering caregiver burnout.

With respite care, you can rely on professional caregivers to...

  • Offer a helping hand with difficult or stressful care activities.
  • Look after your loved one when you have other commitments.
  • Help you find time to attend to your personal well-being.
  • Provide guidance and support in confusing or difficult situations.

Despite the clear benefits of respite care, many people are hesitant to hire these services. Often, family caregivers feel guilty about reducing their caregiving workload. Other times, they worry about their loved one’s security and safety. In certain cases, they’re concerned that home care is a bad fit for their finances, lifestyle, or schedule.

Thankfully, many of these concerns are either unfounded or easily addressed by hiring the right agency.

Common Concerns About Respite Care                            

Can my family afford respite services? Respite services, like other types of home care, are typically provided by the hour. While hourly rates and minimum visit lengths will vary from agency to agency, this will give you financial flexibility when scheduling care. Most agencies will happily work with you to minimize care costs where possible.

Will care be scheduled in a way that works for me and my loved one? Do you need respite services for a specific day and time each week? Are you worried about maintaining your loved one’s routine? If so, you might be concerned about your options for respite care scheduling. Once again, scheduling policies will vary between different agencies. However, the vast majority of respite care providers will provide you with options that fit your needs, routine, and lifestyle.

How will caregivers respond to my loved one’s unique needs? Caregiving is extraordinarily personal. Every care recipient has his or her own unique needs, limitations, and preferences, so its important that care is customized on a person-to-person basis. A high-quality caregiving agency will take pains to personalize your loved one’s care services.

What if my loved one needs specialized care? Seniors who are coping with significant physical or cognitive decline may require specialized care. If your loved one will need assistance with personal activities like bathing or toileting, you’ll need an agency that provides personal care services on a respite basis. Similarly, if your loved one is coping with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you’ll need caregivers who are trained in memory care.

How can I be sure my loved one is safe and secure? Many family caregivers struggle with the idea of leaving their loved one in someone else’s care. While this instinct is understandable, it shouldn’t stop you from getting the respite you require. If you’re concerned about safety, look for agencies that perform background checks on caregivers. Another smart strategy is to join your loved one’s caregiver for the first few sessions. That way, you can get a sense of their approach and start building a rapport.

Will my loved one receive the same level of care? You know your loved one better than anyone else. So you might worry that a respite caregiver won’t provide nearly the same level of care. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that family members have to respite care. Yet it’s a concern that often disappears when they see professional caregivers at work. At Visiting Angels®, our caregivers take extraordinary pride in their work, approaching their clients with a remarkable level of care, respect, and compassion.

Do I really need to hire respite services? No matter how overwhelmed, exhausted, or strained they become, many family caregivers resist the idea of respite care. Often, this resistance stems from feelings of guilt. By hiring outside caregivers, family members feel as if they’ve failed their loved one in a time of great need.

Here’s another way of thinking about this issue: Without respite care, you risk providing your loved one with substandard care. If you are constantly stressed and exhausted, you’ll be less patient with your loved one, more prone to mistakes, and at ever-greater risk of total burnout.

Respite services will make caregiving more manageable and give you time to care for yourself. In the end, that’s often the best thing you can do for your loved one.

Learn more about respite care services and request a free consultation by contacting your local Visiting Angels office today!

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