A healthcare service provider talking to a senior woman.

Respite Care: How Family Caregivers Take a Break

When you think about senior living for aging parents, you may imagine a long-term living situation in an apartment, condo or other senior residence. But that’s not a solution that fits for every family. For many committed caregivers who want to keep their loved ones close to home, the choice is to invite the loved one to live in their home with them and provide the assistance needed themselves.

Being a caregiver can be difficult, however. For many, it’s made more challenging when you offer your loving care while also tending to never-ending family needs – and even more so when you have another job outside the home. Fortunately, there’s a way to provide your parent or other aging loved one the care they deserve while giving yourself the break you occasionally need – respite care. Let’s talk about caregiver burnout, warning signs to watch for and the ways respite care can help you and your family.

Woman pouring tea for senior patients in assisted living home sitting at table and chatting.

Understanding Caregiver Burnout

Anyone who regularly fulfills the responsibilities of caring for a loved one – even short term – has felt some kind of caregiver burnout. Frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed – these are common feelings, and full-time, professional caregivers will tell you they deal with the same feelings from time to time. Unlike professionals who can go home at the end of the day, your caregiver job also includes all your other adult responsibilities, possibly including raising a family, managing a household, meeting financial obligations and working a full-time job. No wonder you’re tired!

When is it caregiver burnout? Watch for these warning signs:

  • You’re more exhausted than usual. It sounds obvious, but many convince themselves to simply push through their exhaustion out of a sense of obligation. But that’s not sustainable, and sacrificing your sleep schedule and self-care for your loved one can be dangerous and counterproductive.
  • You get sick more often. Stress and lack of sleep can take a serious toll on your health and increase the odds of getting sick. That’s bad enough, but then consider how your sickness can get your loved one sick too.
  • You feel like your needs are being neglected. Your emotional and mental health matters. If you don’t have the time to relax and unwind, you won’t have time for happiness either. Your loved one will notice how you’re feeling and may suddenly try to reverse the caretaker role. Remember, your loved one loves you too.
  • You’re missing out on your own life. You have the right to live your life. Feelings of guilt often experienced by caregivers originate within a self-deception – that when you’re not giving your all to your loved one, you believe you’re shirking your obligation. This isn’t true. You need – and deserve – time for your own life.

Fortunately, easing the strain of caregiver burnout isn’t particularly difficult and often begins with your resolve. You can reset your schedule to include the time you need to sleep, exercise and take breaks. You can negotiate with siblings, cousins, spouse, family friends or another loved one to share caregiving responsibilities. And you can look to the support of respite care.

senior woman with home caregiver

How Respite Care Can Help

Respite care – also commonly known as short-stay elder care or adult day care – gives you the latitude to do the things you want and need to do. Whether you’re going to jury duty or going on vacation, you can rely on respite care to provide the qualified, compassionate support that your loved one needs.

How does it work? Simply contact a senior living community that offers respite care or adult day care, give them your information and set a time to have a personal consultation. These days, you can expect a health pre-screening to ensure the safety of current residents. A pre-screening will also give the respite care community a clear assessment of your loved one’s unique care needs. Typically, respite care serves seniors whose needs are consistent with the needs served in long-term assisted living or memory care – but respite offerings can vary widely.

Respite care is available whenever you need to take a break. It gives the whole family real peace of mind – but the perks of respite care aren’t just enjoyed by the senior’s family members. When an older adult enters a respite care center, many will greatly benefit from the chance to rest and recuperate, take advantage of amenities that enhance daily life, and befriend other residents and staff members.

See the Difference The Atriums Can Make

Are you a caregiver who’s feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated? Respite care is here to help. At The Atriums, you’ll find a supportive, comforting, welcoming environment that will ensure your loved one feels at ease. And with the respected assisted living we provide, you and your family can be confident of our reliable, resident-centered care and 24/7 staff.

For more information about The Atriums in Overland Park, call 913-381-6000 today.