Is It Time to Invest in Respite Care?
You love your senior family member or parent, but the level of care they need has begun to take its toll. In addition to caring for them, you have to keep the house running – clean rooms, do laundry, pay bills, prepare meals and possibly take care of children as well. It’s a lot of work and no one’s offering you a paid vacation.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take one. If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your energy reserves and you need some time off, there’s a solution for you: respite care.
5 Signs It’s Time to Invest in Respite Care
Respite care is any type of temporary care you can find that allows you to take a break from caregiving.
You don’t have to make a long-term commitment in order to invest in senior care; many senior care services allow you to hire them for a short period of time – just as long as you need to recharge your batteries or take that vacation.
A lot of family caregivers are hesitant to invest in respite care because they feel guilty. You feel like you should be the one taking care of your loved one, not a stranger. But the fact is, the tolls of caregiving aren’t just in your head, they can have a serious effect on your health if you let the stress and work build up without taking time to care for yourself.
If you could use help figuring out if it’s time to invest in respite care, here are some signs to look for:
1. Little things are slipping.
All the household chores done, but you forgot to pick up that prescription. Or you made dinner, but left out a key ingredient without realizing it until too late. If you’re making little mistakes that aren’t characteristic of you, then it could be because you’ve been pushing yourself too hard for too long.
2. You aren’t getting enough sleep.
The ideal number of hours to sleep each night varies for different people, but for most adults it’s somewhere within the 7-9 hour range. If you feel sleepy throughout the day and have a hard time staying up at night or waking up in the morning, then you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Good sleep is crucial both for general health and to have the energy needed to take on your various responsibilities effectively. If you don’t have it, things will start to slip.
3. You’re easily angered or in a bad mood all the time.
One of the unfortunate consequences of family caregiving is that the person you love risks becoming a collection of tasks you have to complete each day in your mind. If you do feel that way, you’re likely to become irritable and resentful. If it’s gotten to that point already, then the people around you will probably agree you’re due for a break. It can give you a chance to reset your mind and come back in a better mood.
4. You feel exhausted all the time.
There’s the kind of tired you feel when you’re not sleeping enough, then there’s the exhaustion that comes from overworking yourself (and the two are far from mutually exclusive). If you’re taking on more than you can handle, then not only will you feel worn out all the time, but you’ll have a hard time staying on top of the things you have to do. As with losing sleep, your health will suffer, as will your ability to take care of your loved ones.
5. You feel you just need a break.
Honestly, this reason is enough! If you’re good at recognizing your own limits, then once you feel like you’ve reached them and need a break, you probably do. Don’t try to talk yourself out of that feeling. For your own health and the good of everyone around you, go ahead and look into local respite care options.
How to Find Respite Care
A good way to find respite care is to research your local assisted living and in-home care options, and get in touch with the companies that look promising to ask about their respite care options. An added benefit of this approach is that if the time comes when you need more comprehensive care for your loved one, you’ll have had the chance to try one of the available services in your area out.
It will cost you a bit, but the effects of years of overworking and stress without a break are likely to cost you more. Give yourself permission to rest for a while and let someone else do the work for you.