A family friend recently visited for dinner. She is 40-something, and she takes care of her mother who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. She’s had this responsibility for years now, and it may go on for years to come.
Her story of this responsibility was heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. We couldn’t help but admire her for what she is going through.
Respite care is a form of caregiver assistance that is absolutely essential to prevent burnout from this responsibility. It is also one of those services that is not well publicized.
Respite care involves having either someone come to the care receiver’s home or having the care receiver go to an older adult center or adult day care program so that the caregiver can have a break. Respite is not just for relaxation, although that is also needed. Caregivers need to be able to run errands without looking at their watch, worried about getting back as fast as possible. They need to be able to go to doctor and dentist appointments with a calm mind.