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Understanding Respite Care and Why Not to Delay It

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Respite care is planned or temporary emergency care given to the caregivers of an adult or child. Programs like these are designed to provide a short-term break for families and unpaid caregivers. 

While we may focus on our senior loved ones, respite care is important for the family and proves to be a valuable tool. Here is what you need to know about respite care and why not to delay it. 

Signs You May Need Respite Care

When we care for our senior loved ones, it can become exhausting, stressful, and emotional. When caregiving becomes overwhelming for us, respite care is the answer. Here are a few signs it may be time for you to consider respite care.

1. You Get Angry Often

If you find yourself losing your temper more and more, you may be well on your way to complete burnout. When you are this emotionally and physically exhausted, it can result in poor emotional regulation. As a result, you quickly begin to lose patience, and you are running on little to no energy.

2. An Irregular Sleep Schedule

When you are a busy caregiver, you may find that your sleep schedule is interrupted, and you find yourself staying busy with things to do late into the night, knowing that you have to get up early the next morning. 

Having a sleep schedule that becomes this irregular can affect several aspects of your life, including the care you can give. Energy levels deplete faster, patience runs thin, and your emotional and mental well-being take a toll.

3. No Personal Time

Caregivers depend on their friends and family in the outside world to be their lifeline. Without these important social connections, part of their independence and self-esteem can become lost in the shuffle of everyday life as a caregiver. However, full-time caregiving leaves little personal time. Even just taking a few hours a week to yourself can make a huge difference. 

4. Declining Emotional Health

Another reason not to delay respite care is the possibility of your own declining emotional health. When you become too overworked and tired, your emotional health takes a hit. You can become depressed, anxious and look at your role as a caregiver as more of a challenge than before. 

5. Declining Physical Health

In addition to declining emotional health, you may find your physical health taking a plunge as well. When all your responsibilities as a caregiver begin to pile up, it can result in poor sleep, an unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise. These can increase your risk of injury or sickness. Some caregivers who don’t take breaks can experience high blood pressure and weight gain as well. 

As you can see, respite care is so important for families and caregivers so they can get a much-needed break and take care of their own well-being. Just because you have chosen to be a caregiver, it doesn’t mean that your personal life comes to a halt. 

You need to find a balance so you can take care of your own health and well-being. In doing so, you will be better prepared and in a much better position to give your loved ones the high-quality care they so rightfully deserve.

Respite care provides you the opportunity to take a break, recharge, and remember what is important in life. However, don’t delay respite care, or you may face many of the conflicts and ailments we have mentioned above.

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