Are you caring for an elderly or disabled family member? Regardless of how much you love them, or your sense of duty and responsibility, the truth is that all caregivers need a break from time to time. If you neglect self care, your reserves will become depleted and you will not be able to give of your best to care for your loved one.
This is where respite care is so useful. It provides short-term relief for primary caregivers – anything for just a few hours off to relax and pursue personal interests and activities, to several days or even weeks to enable the caregiver to go away on holiday or to recover from an illness. Respite care can be provided at the elderly person’s home, or in a care facility such as one of our Tafta Homes.
Often, caregivers disregard the importance of their own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being due to feelings of guilt or concern about the quality of care their loved one might receive elsewhere, or how it might look to others.
But, just as flight attendants always instruct us to put on our own oxygen masks first before attempting to help a child or other passenger, so at-home caregivers need to first make sure that their own needs are taken care of.
This is particularly important if the elderly person is severely disabled or bedridden, or regularly needs to be helped to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Caring for someone with Alzheimers can also be stressful and draining, especially if they need to be constantly monitored to prevent accidents, e.g. leaving a pot to boil on the stove, or wandering away and getting lost.
Not a sign of weakness or selfishness
It’s not selfish to put your own needs first. Nor is it a sign of weakness to ask for help. By using respite care services, you can make sure you get enough time to exercise, pursue hobbies and activities that give you pleasure, and get the rest and relaxation you need. You will also have time and energy to nurture other relationships – spend more time with your spouse or children, relatives or friends who may feel they are being ignored.
Of course it’s important to know that your loved one is in a secure, loving environment where he or she will be well cared for. Elders using our respite services are cared for by qualified care practitioners, who have extensive experience with older people.
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