Read about how respite care can help you as a family caregiver to maintain your own health and well-being while still ensuring your loved one is looked after.
1 in 10 people in the UK are family caregivers and that number continues to rise and around 3 out of 5 people will be caregivers at some point in their lives.
The role of a caregiver is rewarding because it means that a family member in need is being cared for and loved to the very highest standard. However, the role is often unplanned and more often than not, the extreme responsibility and challenges associated with caregiving can be difficult for anybody to deal with, no matter how physically and emotionally strong they are.
Everybody has a unique caregiving scenario, but for most people, it is a challenging position to hold and some of the most common challenges are:
- Having a life separate to your caregiver role i.e. being a mum or being a husband or wife
- The huge physical strain involved in physically caring for a person
- Coping with the emotional challenges of switching care roles with a parent
- Dealing with aggressive or hostile behaviour from a family member with dementia or similar problems
- Holding down a job and a care role
- Struggling with feelings of anger, resentment, guilt or bitterness over your life before caregiving
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as family caregiving is very complex for each and every carer. The problem is, when these issues are not prevented or dealt with to some degree, they can all add up and cause something called burnout.
Burnout is total emotional and physical exhaustion. This is dangerous for both carer and the person receiving care so it is important to avoid where possible. A coffee every week with a friend, help from friends and family, a long bath, staying healthy – lots of little things can help prevent burnout. Another key way to avoid burnout is respite care.
Respite care is where for a few hours, a day, a weekend or even weeks at a time a qualified carer will come and care for your loved one giving you some rest from your role. You may not have to pay for respite care if you qualify for help with the NHS, but you can, of course, pay for respite care privately if you want to.
Arranging Respite Care
Arranging respite care that is paid for is a lengthier process than arranging it privately. To arrange it through the NHS you will need a care assessment and to set up the process properly. This may take some time to arrange but will be worth it when it is in place.
Arranging it privately can be extremely quick, and can be arranged within 24 hours in some cases. You just need to contact a reputable agency who will send out a live-in carer to help you. These respite carer roles are fulfilled by staff who have experience and training and so are qualified to provide care to your loved one.
Live-in Care Long Term
If you feel respite care isn’t enough and you would like help full time, or even a qualified live-in carer to take over the role from a family caregiver, then long-term live-in care is something to consider. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help, and it is so important to be honest about your situation for your loved one’s wellbeing, and your own health.