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Respite care allows you to recharge, reduce your stress and avoid caregiver burnout

“Caring for a parent or partner can be a rewarding experience, but the demands can take a toll on your health and well being”, says Jodi Marrin, Director of Marketing at Bayshore HealthCare.

Respite care is a type of assistance that allows you to take a break from care-giving. This break can be for a few hours, few days or even a week. Respite care can be provided by fellow family members, friends, volunteers, contacts through community groups or by a health care provider.

Respite care allows you to recharge, reduce your stress and avoid caregiver burnout. It also enables you to spend time with other family members or take a vacation. A break from the caregiver role means that you can return the focus to ensuring your own health and wellness and follow through with your own daily affairs.

How do you know if you need respite care?

  • You simply need a break from the caregiver role
  • You want to take holidays
  • Your parent or partner is being moved into a senior’s residence and you need to help with the transition
  • Your parent or partner needs a change of pace or a break

Respite care is a transferable service which means that it can be provided at home, in a senior’s retirement community or a long-term care facility. Respite care means someone else will step in to fulfill your responsibilities.

What is included in respite care?

Respite care can be customized to meet your needs so it can be all-encompassing or selected tasks such as personal care, companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping and escorted trips for shopping, outings or appointments. Contact your local home care provider to see how they can assist you while you are caring for a loved one.

Know the signs of caregiver burnout

Over time, providing care for an older family member or friend can take a physical and emotional toll. You may even feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re juggling caregiving duties with a paid job and/or other family responsibilities.

Caregivers need to know the signs of stress and burnout. Take this quick quiz and check off each sentence that applies to you:

  1. I’m tired or exhausted a lot of the time.
  2. I’m having trouble sleeping (too little or too much, bad dreams, waking up at night).
  3. I’m not eating a healthy diet.
  4. I’m not exercising as much as I should.
  5. I feel anxious or depressed.
  6. I’m often sad, irritable, angry or easily upset.
  7. I worry a lot or I feel overwhelmed.
  8. It seems like I’m being pulled in several directions at once.
  9. I’ve having trouble concentrating, or I’m forgetful.
  10. I’ve lost interest in socializing and my usual hobbies.
  11. I hardly ever take time out for myself.
  12. I get sick more often than I used to, and illnesses seem to last longer.
  13. I’ve developed health problems (high blood pressure, bodily pain, headaches).
  14. I’m using alcohol or drugs (including prescription medications) excessively.
  15. I’m not keeping up with my own medical appointments, screening tests
    or vaccinations.

The more checkmarks, the greater the need to make a change. You may need to call on other family members, explore community resources or hire professional assistance.

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