25 January Respite Care and Why It’s Essential for Family Caregivers

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Being a family caregiver is a full-time job that can take a toll on a person. A majority of caregivers focus so much on their loved one that they forget to take care of themselves — and this oversight can have a major impact on them physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.

We explore the impact being a family caregiver has on someone and why they tend to work past their limit, along with the role respite care can have to allow caregivers to recharge.

Bluebird CEO, Stuart Brunson, and Joanne Flatt, Regional Director, discussed this topic on our podcast, Senior Care Conversations. Listen to the episode here.

The Impact of Being a Family Caregiver

Family caregivers tend to work themselves to the bone because of their love for the person needing the care. But what they don’t realize is that they actually end up needing care themselves due to the amount of work and stress they put themselves through.

Often times it’s married couples taking care of each other. One spouse takes care of the other, trying to hide the degeneration from family and friends so that they don’t realize that they are in declining health. In working so hard to preserve the health of their loved one, they’re having a dreadful impact on their own health.

Other common situations involve children taking care of their parents. No matter the family size, generally, one or two children take the bulk of the care on. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as proximity to their parents or whether they work an outside job or are a stay-at-home parent. These children are then put in a position where they are trying to be more of a caregiver rather than a son or daughter.

Being family caregiver can turn into much more than a full-time job. Many of the family caregivers are reluctant to admit that it’s wearing them out or that they need to take a break. To help lessen the burden and give caregivers a much-needed break, respite care is a great option.

Respite Care

First of all, it’s ok to say, “I need a break.” If you don’t first take care of yourself, how will you take care of your loved one? This is where respite care comes into play.

Respite care provides short-term relief for caregivers that allows them to take a break and recharge their batteries. Respite care can range from just the afternoon to several days or weeks, and there are many options available to find caregivers.

The first place we recommend find people for respite care is to look towards your family. Be sure to communicate with them if the burden is too much and when you need a break.

If there aren’t enough family members or resources available, reach out to your community to see what is available. Often times, there are support groups available where they will take care of your loved one for a short period of time so that you can take a break. There may also be churches that have pastoral care that will come out and give you an afternoon to recharge.

For longer periods of time, such as a weekend or multiple days or weeks, we recommend choosing a homecare agency to help. Agencies have dedicate caregivers that can provide a variety of services and give you a much-needed break, all while taking great care of your loved one.

As our CEO Stuart Brunson says, “If you’re not at your best, you can’t give your best.”


If you would like to learn more about respite care and see how Bluebird could help, contact us today — we’d love to talk!