Is it selfish to take a few days off? Would I be a bad person if I go on vacation? How can I leave my loved one alone or with someone else?
These are common questions caregivers ask themselves. Caregiver guilt is not uncommon. But it just adds more stress and doesn’t contribute to the caregiving process.
In this article we will discuss:
- The importance of self-care
- What is respite care?
- Benefits of respite care
The Importance of Self-Care
When taking constant care of your loved one (along with running your daily life), stress is inevitable. Taking a break from caregiving from time to time is highly desirable.
Being stressed leads to lower concentration. Losing focus has negative effects on all aspects of your life: job, social relationships, caregiving…
The list of negative effects is extensive:
- lack of appetite
- weight issues
- social isolation
Over time, you develop caregiver burnout, which is caregiver’s enemy #1.
What Is Respite Care?
In short: respite care is a break from caregiving.
You can book a place at an adult day care center, nursing facility, or at home. Contact a caregiver agency from your area and find out about their services. Most agencies have respite care on the list, so ask the receptionist how it works.
Ask about the fees and compare it to the price of nursing facilities and day centers. Usually, caregiver agencies offer services at a lower cost.
Benefits of Respite Care
Respite care is entirely focused on the well-being of a caregiver.
The point of the service is that a family caregiver regains energy. When you are busy all day long, you have less and less energy as the days pass. Being tired means you become less efficient in fulfilling your duties, thus it is essential to find time to recharge your batteries.
More free time means you can finally put yourself first. It is time to think about your needs, wishes, and what makes you happy.
Like traveling? Book a trip. Want to paint? Do it. Walk in the woods, watch your team’s next match, go shopping at the mall, play with your kids, or simply sit and do nothing. You are in control, so do as you please.
If you haven’t seen your friends and other family members for a while, give them a call and ask to see them. Talking with them will help you relax your mind and forget about caregiving and everything else on your shoulders. This will help boost your mood and give you a more positive approach to life.
When you take a break from caregiving, you will have more time and space to think about everything. Perhaps you will come up with a more efficient way of doing things. You may even find a way to have more free time for yourself.
The bottom line is relax, enjoy activities you like, spend time with people, and just do whatever you want to do. You must take care of yourself first to able to help others. Don’t neglect your health and emotions. You are not superhuman, just a human. Think about your health before it’s too late.
For more on taking care of yourself, read here.
If you still are overwhelmed by guilt and doubting whether respite care is the right choice, read more on this topic here.