Respite Care For the Elderly: 5 Reasons To Give Yourself a Break

When taking on the challenge of caring for a loved one, it is often a commitment made, with at-home caregivers dedicating themselves to the needs of their loved one on a daily basis. Whether you help out with the housework for an hour or two each day, or you dedicate large amounts of your time to offering care, it’s often a mentally, emotionally and physically tough challenge; but it’s something that respite care options can certainly help with.

Since it’s a commitment that many people make, feelings of guilt are all too common when it comes to considering a break. However, many don’t realise the benefits that taking a break from caring responsibilities can have on the caregiver and care recipient alike.

Respite care options are best suited to those who are thinking of taking a short holiday from their caring duties, before getting back to it on their return. It’s more than acceptable – if not recommended – to do so as often as you need – and that’s why care homes like us include respite care services in our offerings.

Here are some reasons why, as a caregiver, you may benefit from seeking respite care options:

1. It’s Important to Take Some Time For Yourself

When we’re busy caring for a loved one, we can become consumed in their needs and daily habits; so much so, that we often forget to take care of ourselves. However, it’s important that we don’t forget to do so; for our own health and wellbeing, as well as that of the care recipient.

Taking some time away from your care duties ensures that you show up as your best self when caring for your loved one. They’ll need you to be optimistic – and if you’re feeling exhausted, you’ll unlikely be able to deliver the best quality of care that you otherwise would.

It’s important to take some time out from the perspective of your own health and wellbeing, too. Yours is just as important as that of your loved one – and it’s important not to forget that. Constantly being on-the-go takes its toll on our mental and physical health – and if we don’t recognise it and take appropriate action, it only catches up with you further down the line.

Elderly lady and young carer sat together

2. You and Your Loved One Will Likely Benefit From Some Time Apart

When both the caregiver and care recipient are spending large amounts of time together, it can be difficult to recognise when you’d both benefit from some time apart. From the perspective of the caregiver, feelings of frustration can begin to surface after a while; and that’s completely normal. Similarly, the care recipient may not realise that they would benefit from another’s company – or even immersing themselves in a different environment.

When you start to sense that perhaps you and/or your loved one could do with a break, listen to your instincts and consider respite care options if they’re available to you. Giving yourself, and your loved one, the opportunity to socialise with others will only benefit you in the long term, as it will likely strengthen the relationship between the both of you on your return.

3. Relieve Feelings of Frustration and Exhaustion

If you feel that you’re struggling to meet your loved one’s needs, it can be frustrating for both parties. But it may not be the case that you’re not skilled enough; it may just be that one (or both) of you needs some time out. As with anything we take on in life, if we spend too much time doing something without taking a breather, it can become overwhelming – and it can be hard to identify problems when they arise. 

If you find yourself feeling frustrated and/or exhausted on a frequent basis, you may benefit from considering respite care options for a short while.

Elderly person and young carer holding hands

4. Re-energise and Rejuvenate with Respite Care

As a caregiver, one of the most important qualities you can possess is patience. When you’re feeling tired and frustrated, however, it can become difficult to maintain a rational state of mind, being more prone to low tolerance and agitation. These behaviours can reflect negatively on your loved one, and may have adverse effects on their health and wellbeing.

Low energy resulting from exhaustion, too, may mean that you’re less able to support your loved one in the ways they need. Every few months, or even weeks, if needed, don’t feel guilty about seeking respite care options if you need some time to re-energise and rejuvenate.

5. Allow Yourself Time to Do the Things You Love

There’s certainly no shame in admitting that caring for your loved one doesn’t fall into your list of hobbies. If it does, that’s great – but it’s important to remember that for many of us, taking on caregiving responsibilities falls unexpected. 

As such, it’s important to take some time to do the things you love – no matter how long it takes. If you can, dedicating a small amount of time each day to engage in an activity that makes you happy is essential for nurturing your spiritual, mental and emotional health.

Taking prolonged periods of time to do the things you love is important, too. Whether it suits your schedule to take a few days a week, or a few days per month, to engage in your hobbies, don’t forget to take this time for yourself. 

At Foxholes Care Home, our respite care options allow caregivers to take some much-needed time for themselves, whilst our dedicated team offer skilled care in a comfortable, sociable environment. If you’d like to find out more, please click here.