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What Is Respite Care?

By Homewatch CareGivers, LLC

Respite care is when a family caregiver is given a break, or a rest, or a respite, from their responsibilities caring for a loved one. This break might occur when another family member steps up for a time, or by hiring a professional caregiver to do some of the caregiving instead of the family.

Many family caregivers are juggling work, caring for other family such as young children, plus a variety of tasks for someone who is physically or mentally unable to full care for themselves due to age, illness, or disability. Sometimes it becomes too much and in order to continue helping out at all, a break is needed or some additional support to do the things that are too physically taxing (such as lifting someone or helping them in and out of the tub).

While home care is for the person who needs assistance, the respite is for the family of the client who is receiving the home care services.

Why is respite care so important? The expression, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” sums up the critical need for respite care. Family caregivers can give too much of themselves in service to a loved one and damage their own health and wellbeing. When that happens, everyone just needs care—medical care, home care, nursing care, you name it, depending on the circumstances. Even a weekly movie night out for a couple of hours, or a Sunday morning in church, during which time the person who needs care is tended to by another, can give someone back their own peace of mind of well-being.

People often ask if Medicaid pays for respite care? There are many ways to pay for home care, including respite care. Long-term care insurance pays for home care services, there are also veteran benefits, and some life insurance policies will cover these costs. Click here for a complete list of ways to pay for respite care.

What does in-home care mean to you? If you are a family caregiver in need of a break, you might be wondering what a professional caregiver can step in and do in your place. A trained caregiver can be there to assist with daily bathing and grooming, become like a friend and companion to take walks and play games together, do a little light housekeeping during their visit, provide medication reminders, run some errands including those that the client may need to join, and more.

Respite care is available for short and long-term care needs, whether someone is recovering from a surgery or developing additional symptoms after a diagnosis of a progressive illness. You may need respite care for seniors, or a break from childcare or caring for a loved one of any age.

Whether you seek out professional in-home care services or just ask friends and family to share the load, make sure you take breaks for yourself as a family caregiver from time to time to maintain your wellness.