Being a caregiver for an aging parent, relative or friend can be a joy. Looking out for the ones who raised or influenced us is an honor.
But it’s also not easy! Caregiving for an older adult is fulfilling but draining.
And it is impossible to do alone.
A 2020 report from the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving tells us that feeling alone causes high emotional stress in 72% of caregivers.
That’s no surprise. Consider the following from the same report:
- 61% of family caregivers work a job in addition to giving care.
- Nearly one quarter care for multiple people.
- Almost 20% report high physical strain from their efforts, and slightly less than 40% describe their roles as highly stressful.
Throw some household responsibilities, children to raise, and personal health struggles into the mix and the results can be chaotic. You might know some of these challenges all too well!
Here is the truly surprising figure:
38% of family caregivers think respite care would help them, but only 14% take advantage of it.
Only 14 percent! Does that mean 86 percent of caregivers never have emergencies or go on vacation or get sick?
Of course not. Instead, all of those details of life feel even heavier when they are added to daily caregiving burdens.
Respite care exists for those exact moments. More than other categories of healthcare, respite care exists to help the caregiver at least as much as it helps the care recipient. By stepping in to take care of dad, respite care gives you the rare gift of time.
Respite care can take different forms. Some providers will watch your loved one in the familiarity of his or her own home. Others are more programmatic and welcome folks during the day (for example, adult day care centers).
Other facilities, like the Holland Christian Home, offer around-the-clock care in a community that is designed for older adults. With three meals each day, special activities for everyone, and loving protection overnight, these havens offer a wonderful change of pace for their guests. (Kind of like “Camp Grandma!”) And by providing care 24/7, they give people like you a chance to catch a breath or just catch up on life.
And if you and your loved one are considering a more permanent home, respite care is a perfect way to experience life in a long-term care facility first-hand.
Be part of the 14 percent! Do something different for you and your loved one. You’ll be glad you did.