For those who take care of loved ones, caregiver respite is extremely important. It provides a way for caregivers to avoid “caregiver burnout” and requires a plan that includes knowing your needs, finding people who can help, meet with family members to discuss the situation, making a solid plan and then actually sticking to it.
Such a plan might include time at a respite house such as the one offered by Hope Grows. There, a caregiver can enjoy nature, work in a garden and participate in other activities that allow them to relax and rejuvenate.
Here’s a closer look at how to create some caregiver respite for yourself.
Know Your Needs
One of the biggest hurdles for many caregivers is acknowledging they need help. After all, they spend their time providing for almost all the needs of a loved one. That takes strength and strong people sometimes don’t want to admit ”weakness.”
However, getting caregiver respite is not weakness. Even the strongest of people need a chance to relax to avoid depression and health problems, all of which can result from burnout. It’s important to recognize your needs and begin to do some respite planning that can give you needed time away from caregiving duties
Sit down and list everyone who could be of help. “Help” in this context could mean anything from doing a bit of shopping so you don’t have to or spending the weekend with your care recipient so you can get a weekend away. This list is primarily going to be family, but it can also involve close friends you trust.
Also, for financial issues, the National Family Caregiver Support Program may offer services that can help.
Meet With Family
Once you have a plan in mind for what you need in terms of respite, it’s time to meet with the family. You can do so in person or via an online video chat service such as Skype. Be honest about what you need, but also remain flexible. This is going to be a compromise, but make sure to start with exactly what you want so the family will know. Let them make the decision about what they can or cannot do.
Make a Solid Plan
Once everyone has decided what they can contribute, then create a plan on a calendar you can share (Google Drive is excellent for sharing documents). In this way, everyone will literally be on the same page.
Letting go and leaving the care to someone else, even for a short period of time, might be the hardest part of getting caregiver respite. However, you have come this far. You’ve have taken all the right steps. Make sure that when the day comes to put the plan into effect, you follow through. For most people, this gets easier the more times you do it. Caregiver respite is an important part of being a caregiver. It’s important to make a plan and follow through. You’ll find that your own health will benefit and that the care you provide will also get even better.