Respite care is a short-term break from caregiving. It may be having a friend or neighbor sit with your family member for an hour or two while you do chores, taking them to a Social Adult Day Center while you run an errand, or arranging for a home health aide to stay with them for a weekend so you go to a grandchild’s wedding or graduation.
You might be reluctant to leave your loved one with someone who doesn’t know the routine, but taking a break from your caregiving responsibilities is important. Caregiving is hard work, and studies show that caregivers who take breaks are happier and don’t feel as much stress. Respite care is also good for patients. Those who are involved with respite care have fewer behavioral problems and sleep better at night.
When you look into respite care, be sure to consider the kind of help you need. Remember that your loved one’s needs may change over time. Depending on how long your break will be, your family member may need a respite caregiver with special training. If your loved one has trouble adjusting to changes in routine or to new people, have the respite caregiver come while you are home so your family member can get used to them.
You’ll also want to be sure you’re hiring a caregiver who’s received proper training, and from a reputable agency. This is where Partners in Care can help. All Partners in Care home health aides are certified and insured, and receive 114 hours of training—39 hours more than the minimum required by New York State.