Today, family members provide the majority of care for seniors and older loved ones. While family caregivers can allow seniors to remain at home and lessen the financial impact of receiving professional care, the duties and responsibilities of caring for an aging loved one can take their toll. Many family caregivers eventually need a break from their role in order to rest and take care of themselves or other family members. Without the chance to rest and rejuvenate, caregivers can experience burnout and physical health problems – taking away their ability to care for anyone.
Michael Rambarose, President and CEO of Whitney Center, a Life Care community in Hamden, CT, recognizes the importance of self-care for family caregivers. “No one can give to others when they’re empty,” says Rambarose. “This is especially true with the non-stop tasks of caregiving. Although it might seem difficult to take a break from a loved one’s care tasks, those who utilize respite care experience greater health and have an improved ability to provide care in the long run. Balancing caregiving with the rest of your life is important for your overall well-being, and respite care can help you accomplish that.”
What Exactly Is Respite Care?
Respite care is a service provided by a professional caregiver or a friend or family member to temporarily fill in for a primary caregiver. Respite care could be as informal as asking your sibling to take your parent to the doctor, or it could take the form of a short-term stay at a local senior living community. No matter how you utilize respite care, the important thing is that it allows you as a caregiver to take a break from your duties.
There are multiple reasons why you might utilize respite care, including:
- Taking a break to rest and renew your energy
- Enjoying some valuable “me time,” an important part of self-care
- Tending to other family or work-related responsibilities
- Traveling for work or going on vacation
- Attending a special event, like a child’s graduation
- Recovering from an illness or injury
How Respite Care Benefits Caregivers
In addition to allowing caregivers time to do other things, respite care provides several benefits that strengthen a caregiver’s resiliency, energy and other abilities to provide great care for a loved one. Consider the following benefits for respite care discussed in the article, “Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers:”
- Renewal to feel like yourself again
- Energy to be effective in all you do
- Space between you and your role, allowing for better perspective
- Pleasure in your favorite hobbies or activities
- Identity in something other than caring for a loved one
- Time away from your role to free your mind and rest your body
- Engagement with other people in your life
Unfortunately, many family caregivers forfeit the benefits of respite care because they feel obligated to provide constant care and oversight for their loved one. The thought of handing responsibility off to someone else, even temporarily, might make them feel guilty. However, being able to relinquish control for a short time is a vital part of being a good caregiver. Your loved one benefits, too, when you take the time to prioritize your own health.
Knowing They’re in Good Hands
As natural as it is to worry when your loved one is in the care of someone else, it helps to find a trusted source to provide respite care services. Whether that’s another family member, a home health agent or a reputable senior living community, knowing your loved one is in good hands allows you to take the break you deserve with complete peace of mind.
“At Whitney Center, our respite care guests receive the same services and support that our full-time Assisted Living or Memory Care residents enjoy,” says Rambarose. “They get the chance to mingle with other seniors, enjoy our programming and take advantage of our excellent amenities – all while receiving professional support and assistance from our team. We treat our respite guests like one of the family.
“Additionally, loved ones benefit from a change in pace and scenery. They get to meet new people and participate in community life. Some respite guests may even decide that they would like to move into the community full-time.”
If you’re a busy family caregiver in need of rest, it’s time to learn more about respite care. Contact local senior living communities near you or call Whitney Center to talk to our team members about any questions or concerns you may have. We can help you experience all the benefits that respite care has to offer.
Discover Excellence in Senior Living.
At Whitney Center, you’ll find a distinguished senior living community where residents do what they love. Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Whitney Center combines all the cultural, educational and historical charms of the Greater New Haven area with the intricate details of daily life for active seniors. Whitney Center is a Life Care community, offering not just an unparalleled independent living lifestyle, but a full continuum of care services as well, including assisted living, rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and memory care. Whitney Center even offers a home-based long-term care program, Thrive at Home, which connects seniors to the services they need to live well in their own home.
Choice. Freedom. Opportunity.
We believe that remaining engaged and striving for excellence builds a more meaningful life. That’s why residents experience a host of services and amenities, events and cultural opportunities and wellness programs designed to foster endless growth and personalized living. Backed by our first-rate hospitality and philosophy of continuous improvement, our residents are free to travel, learn, volunteer, set new goals and create the life they want to live.
Come Here to Thrive.
At Whitney Center, residents live in the midst of cultural arts and education and dignified connections to the greater community. Seniors thrive in pursuit of what brings them joy, with unlimited opportunities to create and contribute. And, with the confidence in quality care services available on site if health needs ever change, Whitney Center makes it possible for seniors to continue enjoying the freedom to embrace life at its fullest.