Respite care often means a short-term stay in a care home or nursing facility, to give the usual carer a break from their duties as a care provider. Respite care can be planned or unplanned and can also be used in case of an emergency. It is especially useful when the carer is a family member or friend as it can allow them time to take care of their own health and wellbeing.
Respite care is incredibly useful when a carer is unable to commit to all care duties for a short period of time, for example after an operation when the person they care for requires more assistance than they usually would. In addition to the obvious necessity, respite care can be an extremely positive experience for the person who is being cared for.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits of respite care, aside from the obvious for the carer. The person who is being cared for can gain a lot from the experience such as:
- Increased social interaction – Respite care gives people a chance to interact with a whole new social circle, and when respite care is offered every few months, then this allows relationships and friendships to be formed in their care home environment.
- A chance to recharge your batteries – Both carers and people they care for can get worn out by repetitive and strenuous interactions. Providing care can also put a significant strain on relationships, taking time apart and allowing yourselves to unwind and re-energise can better the care and relationship in the future.
- New experiences – A change of scenery and a new group of people to be involved with, not to mention the whole host of activities available in care centres.
- Preparation for full-time care – Frequent short breaks in respite care can help people transition to what life would be like if they were there full time. If full-time residential care is likely to be in the person’s future, then respite can provide a slow and easy introduction.
There are alternatives to respite care, for example, another carer visiting or staying in your home; which can be a great option if the older person does not want to leave their home or if they are unable to do so easily.
In-home respite care can be ideal if extra care is only needed during the day or night, though live-in carers are available on a short-term basis. The same benefits, such as increased social interaction (as a new carer is involved), and a chance for the usual carer to take a break, are still achieved with this option.
Being a carer is a difficult job and you should always remember to take time for yourself and ensure that you are looking after yourself properly. There are a large number of charities and organisations available to help with respite care and are able to give advice and help to carers and people being cared for, for example, Age UK and the NHS.
Kintell has created a smart health system that allows older people to remain independent for longer. Our aim is to prolong independent living by at least a further five years and we plan to do this by improving health and giving older people the tools to stay safe and confident in their homes. To find out more about us and the work we’re doing, visit our website or check out our Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.