Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Caregiver Help, Pt. 2: The Why and How of Respite

Are you a family caregiver?  Or related to one?  If so, you know about stress.  And you likely know how important it is to get a break from that stress now and then.  A respite could be your answer.

In the last post, I wrote about Barb.  She's a hard worker, to put it mildly, with employment outside the home, plus caring for her husband who has dementia.  She's a high energy, take charge woman, and she's a good friend.  But like all caregivers, she feels she needs a break, now and then.

Respite--a break from caregiving--takes several forms.  Sometimes it's a day a week when the loved one who needs care attends a day care program.  Other times it's for a longer length of time, when the caregiver is free to visit grandchildren, go on a trip, relax, or do anything they've been wanting to do but couldn't.

Barb is planning on flying to Iowa to visit friends in the area where she grew up.  Her husband will be cared for at home through a home care agency.  He is used to his home and his schedule, and their daughter, who lives nearby, will be part of the caregiving team during this time.

A respite can also be done in an assisted living community, an adult family home or a nursing facility.  It's often a two-week stay but can be as long as a month.  Sometimes the respite works so well that the family decides to transfer to move-in status.

Why is a respite such a good thing?  One family I worked with several years ago wanted Mom to have a temporary break from her eight-year-stint caring for her husband who had Parkinson's.  She and her four daughters put their heads together in my presence, and came up with a plan:  They all wanted to go to Vancouver, British Columbia, for a "Girl's Celebration."  Dad was quiet social.  I helped them find an assisted living community that would do respite.  He enjoyed the staff, the food and the camraderie.  The women returned refreshed, especially Mom, vowing they would do this again.

About progress on my book proposal for "Eldercare Journey:  Help and Hope for Your Aging Parent?"  I will turn it in by the end of next week.  And then there's the waiting and waiting.  Why did I compare this process to a marriage proposal?  Only because it's not a done deal.  The publisher can say 'No.'  We shall see.

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