Caring for someone else can be exhausting, stressful and isolating. Family caregivers need to take time for rest, exercise and other activities in order to prevent burnout. For many people, respite care is the solution.

What is respite care?

Respite care is provided by other informal caregivers or by professional care workers (hired privately or through an agency), and allows informal caregivers a respite or break for a few hours a day or longer. Respite care takes place in recipients’ homes, retirement residences or long-term-care facilities. Sometimes, seniors move temporarily from home to a facility.

By helping family caregivers prevent burnout, respite care may extend how long they can support their loved ones. Respite care can also improve the quality of the time they spend with the care recipient.

When is it time to try respite care?

“When caregivers notice signs of stress and burnout, they should take steps to arrange respite care”, says Jodi Marrin, Marketing Manager at Bayshore HealthCare. “Otherwise, they may become increasingly frustrated, angry or impatient, raising the risk of crisis situations or elder abuse”.

If you’re a caregiver, don’t ignore the warning signs. Reach out to family and friends, who may not realize you’re struggling. Explore community and government resources that may be available. Hiring a caregiver for just a few hours a week can help lighten the load and give you a much-needed break. Remember, staying well also benefits your loved one, so take care to practice self-care.