Intermittent care and support for families or primary caregivers.
Respite services are temporary and intermittent services designed to strengthen and support the primary caregiver, whether it is a spouse, adult child, or other supportive caregiver. We recognize that caregiving can be exhausting. Many times the primary caregiver will abandon their own needs for their loved one. As professionals, we understand that when a caregiver does not attend to their need for rest, nutrition, exercise, and recreation, it can lead to caregiver exhaustion or burnout.
There are many support programs in our community that deal with specific issues such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and others. Utilizing community resources and our personal care services can release some of the pressure that families face when they are the primary caregiver in the home.
One of the challenges with being a primary caregiver for a loved one is that it changes the relationship. With adult children, they often find themselves in a “role reversal” where they settle into a parental role with their parent. Sometimes, the parent can be resistant to this reversal, causing strains in the relationship. Similarly, in a marriage, the dependence of a spouse can change the dynamic of the relationship. Recognizing that taking care of a loved one includes taking care of oneself is in fact an act of love that takes wisdom.
Respite service provides intermittent support that strengthens the abilities of the caregiver. Services can be scheduled for an hour, a day, or even a week if a vacation is in order. Services are designed to be minimal in order to support, not replace, the caregiver. Many families have benefitted from the support respite services provide and have been able to maintain strength longer in order to meet the goals of maintaining their loved ones independence.
- Crisis Intervention
- Personal reprieve
- Vacation time
- Avoid burnout
A Success Story
Mr. Carter (name changed to protect privacy) was an accomplished executive in his young years. During his retirement he developed Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes stiffness in muscles, which causes a progressive decrease in mobility. It can also affect cognition, causing confusion and delirium.
Mr. Carter was mostly independent. He walked with a cane, but would sometimes forget to use it, causing concern for being a fall risk. He woke up several times throughout the night and would become mildly confused.
Mrs. Carter came to us because she was concerned about how tired she was becoming as she was not getting enough rest at night due to her need to get up with him throughout the night. She also was not getting enough time during the day to attend her own exercise classes or spend time playing games with her lady friends. She wanted to participate in activities that would enhance her well being but not take away from her husband’s s activities.
We established a Plan of Care with her that met his need for recreation and exercise by providing a caregiver a few days a week who would encourage him to exercise, take walks, participate in community events geared for people with Parkinson’s, and provide mental stimulation by helping him read the newspaper, which he enjoyed but could not do by himself as his eyesight was too poor. This allowed Mrs. Carter to attend her activities during the days she had service while remaining the primary caregiver at other times. We also established overnight services every night so that she could consistently get her much needed rest.
Ultimately, Mrs. Carter’s choice to include respite services in their daily lives enhanced their marital relationship. Because she only released a portion of the caregiving responsibilities, they could enjoy their private time together. Their valuable life together was given our meaningful care.
Another family who benefitted from utilizing respite services was Glenda’s (name changed to protect privacy). Glenda came to us with a concern about her overlapping life of being a primary caregiver as well as mom and grandmother. She had a desire to blend primary caregiving with participating in an activity with her grandchild.
Glenda’s mom and dad had planned their retirement well. They realized their dream of one day retiring to the Sunshine State after years of working and raising a family in Illinois. Their children were grown and settled into their lives in Illinois when they made the move here. For several years, Mom and Dad enjoyed their retirement and filled their lives with activities. Unfortunately, Dad had a sudden illness and left Mom a widow.
Mom maintained her independence for several years. She remained social, having many friends, and enjoyed traveling back up north to visit her children and grandchildren. Her children also visited from time to time, enjoying the benefits of having a loved one in Florida. It was during one such visit that Glenda recognized that Mom was declining in her mobility and that she was becoming mildly forgetful.
The children became concerned that maybe Mom should no longer continue to be alone. By now, Glenda’s children were grown and her circumstances allowed her to move in with Mom. Glenda and her siblings were grateful that she was at a place in her life that she could do this.
During her time living with Mom, Glenda’s first granddaughter was preparing for her high school graduation. She was conflicted because she knew that Mom was now too frail to travel, but she wanted desperately to celebrate with her family.
Glenda’s choice to contact us for respite care was ultimately the relief she needed to make it work. We sent caregiver’s to her for a couple of days a week for the three weeks before she left to help Mom establish a relationship and then Glenda went to Illinois to see her granddaughter graduate. Having trusted, quality caregivers stay with Mom while Glenda was out of town was exactly what she needed. She found out that meaningful care for a valuable life meant that her life was as valuable as Mom’s.