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5 Times Caregivers Should Use Respite Care

Caregiving for a senior is a demanding job that often falls on family members or close friends. In the United States, there are nearly 32 million caregivers who provide unpaid care for adults age 50 and older, many of whom provide care for a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. While many caregivers find fulfillment and joy in their day-to-day duties, no one is equipped to do it without some occasional support. According to the National Institute on Aging, respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. Respite care can take place in an individual’s home, at a day-care center, or at residential or nursing facilities that offer overnight care. Many caregivers rely on respite care to prevent burnout, relieve stress, restore energy and promote balance. On the other hand, respite care can provide seniors with variety, stimulation, and a change in environment. Although it may be difficult to ask for help, both seniors and caregivers can reap the many benefits of respite care.

Benefits of Respite Care 

Caregiving can present challenges and difficulties as those providing care for a senior also try to manage their own lives. Respite care can provide support during times of emotional and physical difficulty, during scheduling conflicts, and can also serve as a time for caregivers to focus on themselves. Here are some of the most common ways caregivers can benefit from utilizing respite care for their loved ones:

  • A time to relax. Caregivers are “on-duty” nearly every hour of every day. Providing this type of support for a loved one can quickly lead to burnout and emotional fatigue. Respite care can provide an opportunity for caregivers to do something for themselves, which could be as simple as taking a nap or going for a walk.
  • A time to socialize. Caregivers are often socially isolated, especially if their loved one has limited cognitive abilities. According to the National Institute on Aging, isolation can have negative health impacts such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline. Utilizing respite care to make time to reconnect with family and friends is important to general wellness and can actually make you a better caregiver.
  • A time for rediscovery. Many individuals define themselves through their role as a caregiver. Respite care offers the opportunity for caregivers to rediscover their hobbies and interests while still caring for their loved ones.

In addition to providing support to caregivers, respite care also provides various benefits to those receiving the service. Here are a few ways your loved one could benefit from a stay in respite care:

  • Change of pace. If your loved one interacts with the same people on a regular basis, respite care could provide an opportunity to interact with new people. While some seniors might enjoy the consistency of routine, it can be beneficial to experience change periodically.
  • Experience senior living. For seniors living at home independently or with a family member, respite care is a great way to experience life in a senior community. During a respite stay, seniors are able to test out senior living communities without making a permanent commitment.

5 Scenarios for Respite Care 

Oftentimes, caregivers are reluctant to ask for help or plan for respite care because of conflicting emotions. Many might feel guilty for relying on others while some worry about their loved one’s wellbeing. However, by taking a break and utilizing respite care services, caregivers can actually provide better care for their loved ones. Here are some occasions where it might make sense for caregivers to implement respite care into their caregiving strategies:

After an illness or hospitalization. When a loved one is recovering from surgery, illness, or hospitalization, they often require a higher level of care which can be difficult for caregivers to do at home. Home health services can offer skilled nursing to help the individual heal faster while providing peace of mind to the caregiver and other family members.

Medical conditions. As we age, it’s common to develop one or more chronic conditions. Managing these conditions as they progress can become increasingly difficult for caregivers. In addition, many caregivers are providing support for an aging relative, which can be difficult to cope with emotionally. Respite caregivers can provide essential support to full-time caregivers as they learn how to manage their loved one’s new care requirements.

Life events. Life happens and family caregivers need space to live their own lives. Whether a caregiver is planning a vacation, going on maternity leave, or preparing for a wedding, respite caregivers can step in to provide support when needed.

Scheduling conflicts. Last-minute conflicts happen and finding someone to step in when you’re away can be difficult. Respite caregivers can help care for your loved one when you have an emergency appointment, meeting with a client at work, or family matters to attend. These services can often be scheduled in advance or at the last minute.

For rest. Caregiving is one of the most challenging professions, no matter how much you love your senior. Many caregivers feel emotionally and physically drained at some point during their time as caregivers. It’s important to listen to your needs and utilize the services available to you. Respite caregivers are there to give you a break when you need it the most—even if it’s just to see a movie or get a massage!   

Respite Care at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how difficult it can be to leave your loved one in respite care. Respite services at Maplewood offer your senior a temporary stay in a vibrant community, along with comprehensive care from a highly-skilled team—allowing you to travel or relax with the peace of mind you deserve. To learn more about these offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us


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Westport, CT 06880


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