The Beach Awaits and it is important that you get there. Or the mountains are calling and need you to see them or the car ride listening to your favorite music is waiting for you or any other place that is your happy place, it is important that you get there.
When you are caregiving especially when you caring for someone 24/7 your happy place, the place where you can breathe again often gets put on the back burner. The importance of respite for caregivers cannot be emphasized enough. When you are providing care to someone else it becomes so important that you are able to get rest and rejuvenate so that you are physically and emotionally able to provide care to your loved one. This is not to oversimplify how difficult it can be to put in a plan for respite as there are barriers to that day at the beach or the golf course. However, when you are caring for someone respite needs to be part of the plan.
A simple way to plan for respite can be to circle a day on the calendar and mark it as a day for you. An appointment with yourself whatever you want to do. It does not have to be a day at the beach. It can be meeting a friend for coffee, a game of golf, or taking a nap but it is a day off just as you would at a place of employment. You can choose to tell your loved one or not. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia they are probably not going to understand your need for respite and it may be better to keep information on a need to know basis if at all. Make this date for you far in enough in advance so that services can be setup as needed or family members can arrange their plans to help. This brings up how to get help, if family members offer to help, take them up on their offer. If they don’t offer, ask. If they decline for whatever reason, work on a plan B. Look into services through programs or consider privately paying for care. Again remember you are the caregiver to your loved one and it is in their best interest that you have care as well. The Family Caregiver Support Program also offers a small Respite Scholarship to pay for care whether in-home or at an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility. There are ways to make respite happen. Although it takes work whether it be for a vacation or just a day away respite needs to be part of the plan when you are providing care. A cared for caregiver will only benefit the person they care for. For more information on the Respite Scholarship through the Family Caregiver Support Program visit http://www.esmv.org/programs-services/caregiver-support/