How Respite Care Can Protect You and Your Spouse
With age, relationships take on a new dynamic. For many that includes providing senior home care for their spouse. Whether they're helping with hygiene or taking care of every aspect of daily life, it's a selfless act of love that comes naturally for many people. No one, however, is immune to both physical and mental burn out. In many cases, spouses actually end up damaging their own health while acting as a caregiver. That's why so many people seek out respite care
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is temporary senior home care
, used to give regular caregivers the chance to take some time off. Respite care can cover all senior home care areas, from daily life activities to palliative care
and dementia care
. Respite care schedules are flexible and are often used for a couple of days a week or much longer to allow for extended breaks.
Respite care comes in many forms and always prevents burn out for the primary caregiver. When you're caring for your spouse, the emotional stakes are even higher. The daily grind of chores, hygiene tasks, cooking or being on hand at all times is tough. We all have limits, no matter how much you love your spouse.
Respite care uses a professional caregiver
to take the reins for a while, giving you the chance to breathe and rest. For example, we recently had a client who said she was simply struggling to cope. She needed a break. She needed a week or two off. She used a respite caregiver and was able to relax and spend quality time with her husband. The caregiver became the person to depend on for two weeks, taking care of chores, cooking and hygiene tasks.
Without using respite care, she told us she would've likely been pushed beyond her limits. She could feel her mental health and energy levels draining, but after two weeks off felt refreshed and ready to care normally again.
Gain Energy for the Long-Haul
Like regular work, we would be physically and mentally exhausted without a break every now and then. If you know you're in caregiving for the long-haul, then respite care gives you the chance to re-energize and come back stronger, benefitting both you and your spouse.
If you find yourself feeling weak or overworked, then there is a risk that you go beyond your limits one day. Having the ability to turn to someone else during tough weeks can prevent exhaustion, anxiety attacks, falls or conditions caused by stress and high blood pressure.
Protect Your Relationship
Providing senior care for your spouse puts a strain on relationships. Yes, it's one of the strongest acts of love, but it's likely not the bonding experience you dream about. Disputes arise and often, you can feel like you're in a one-way relationship. Respite care removes that problem. Having someone else at home to take care of the 'dirty work', or even just provide time for you to relax together on the weekends can be enough to save struggling relationships.
Whether being responsible for medication reminders has caused tension, or you would appreciate an extra pair of hands around the house - respite care is the answer.
Protect Your Career and Hobbies
Balancing your work life and hobbies with providing senior home care for your spouse is a difficult task. With less energy and time available, many people find their ambitions are put on hold. You might not have time to spend an evening with your friends like you used to, have no energy to enjoy reading or painting as you wish, or you might be full behind on your work. Respite care professionals can work shifts that give you that needed time.
For example, say every Friday afternoon is when you meet up with the girls, but now caregiving has made that impossible. The solution: respite care. You could schedule a caregiver to drop by every Friday afternoon, making sure your spouse is safe and not alone.
An Extra Pair of Hands to Help You Both
If you're caring for your spouse, you're probably taking on two people's duties. Regardless of your age, that's a lot of extra work. Having a respite caregiver
drop by can provide an extra pair of hands to help you both. Many clients use respite care to help with cooking and household chores and live safer, happier lives than ever before (with better meals too!).
Improve Your Caregiving Skills
A surprising bonus to respite care is how much you learn about caring for your spouse. One client of ours had a respite caregiver visit for three weeks. At the end of it, they told us that it was eye-opening. They could see the little tricks and movements that help with moving about safely, walking down the stairs correctly, getting to the shower safely and more. They were also able to step back and see how their spouse reacted to certain scenarios, which helped them once they got back to caregiving.
Ease Family Tensions
Family tensions often arise as parents get older, as siblings, parents, and children organize and dispute who should be doing what while caregiving. If your kids or siblings seem tired, unwilling, or unable to act as caregivers, then respite care can take the burden away for all involved. When you usually call on your relative for help, you can now call on a professional caregiver to allow your family relationships to breathe, heal and flourish.
You Deserve Help Too
Don't fall into the trap of thinking you're the only person who should be providing care for your partner. Every family caregiver is entitled to assistance of any kind, for your own health and to be able to love your spouse freely in the ways you really want to. You owe it to yourself and your loved one.
Statistics about Respite Care
- Senior caregivers have higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety than non-caregivers, resulting in an increased risk of health problems.
- 40-70% of family caregivers report having symptoms of depression.
- Nursing care admissions significantly drop when respite care is introduced.
- 47% of middle-aged adults have a senior parent in need of care, while also caring for their own children.
Respite Care for Seniors in Tampa, FL
If you ever feel overwhelmed from caregiving's sacrifice, contact Visiting Angels today
to discover more about how respite care in Tampa, FL
can help you and your loved one. Call (813) 909-2550.