Gimme a Break! Ten Tips to Help Caregivers Plan for Respite Care

March 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Are avoiding respite?

Are you worried you won’t find a good fit?

Are you worried your elder-parent won’t take their meds or find other ways to rebel against you leaving?

Are you worried the care person won’t do all the little things you do?

Caregiving is all-consuming. You’re on call 24/7. You run errands, plan meals, are in charge of meds, help with rehab, talk to doctors and insurance, deal with behavior issues, sundowning, and the list goes on and on. You know you need a break, but even planning a break takes time and energy.

10 Tips to Help Plan your Respite Time Well:

  • Start planning at least 2 months out
  • Make reservations–something you can’t get out of easy
  • Start by asking a friend or relative–someone your care buddy already knows
  • If you do need outside help, start by contacting your local care resources–many have volunteers
  • Invite the care person over for at least 2 visits so your care buddy gets a chance to feel comfortable
  • Make a clear and detailed list–but don’t go crazy.  Focus on the main things–medication times and amounts, safety concerns
  • Don’t be surprised if your care buddy tries to sabotage your break at the last-minute. Don’t let them. Unless it’s a true medical emergency, you should go. Even if they don’t seem happy–some of that is just for show.
  • Don’t be surprised if the first time you take a respite you don’t know how to relax. It’s been so long your mind and body doesn’t understand what to do. Don’t cut your trip short. In time, you’ll learn how to kick-back.
  • Resist the urge to micro-manage. Call only once a day–they’ll call you if they need you. Don’t ask for details. Trust the important things are getting done. Let go of being a caregiver for just a few hours.
  • Plan your next respite time soon after. If you’re caregiving long-term, these regular breaks are a necessity.

The great thing about respite is that once you get the hang of it, it gives you something to plan for and look forward to. For a few days you get to reconnect with other aspects of your life. It even makes you a better caregiver. You come back refreshed and with something new to give. And it might even surprise you that your care buddy might appreciate the break (from you) as well.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving, sundown syndrome. Tags: , .

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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