Caring for someone can be hard. In fact, it can be one of the hardest jobs you can do, especially when you’re looking after someone in your family. Whether the person you are caring for just needs an extra bit of support because they’re getting older, or whether they have more complex needs such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be a tough thing to do. Rewarding, absolutely, but exhausting. It can be a 24-hour job, with no breaks and often no support from others.
As a family, we have had over the year a lot of responsibility for the older people in our family. My grandmother had ten siblings but only my nan and three others had children. As the ones without children got older, they needed help to stay as independent and in their own homes as long as possible. Because everyone else lived so far away, we were the main carers. It meant lots of hospital and doctor appointments, doing shopping and cleaning and other tasks that they were not able to do. We were lucky in that we shared these responsibilities out and other than my Great Aunt, who sadly had dementia, their needs were not so complex that they needed around the clock care. That was exhausting enough at times, so hats off to anyone who does it on their own, day in, day out.
Everyone does need a break though, and this is where respite care can be so important. Many people hear the words and ask the question ‘what is respite care?’. Respite care is a short term stay, either planned or in some cases unplanned in a care home. It gives the carer a break and means the person being cared for is looked after. It means that those with caring responsibilities are able to go on holiday, receive medical treatment, deal with other unexpected situations or emergencies that we all know pop up from time to time, or sometimes simply have a much needed breather.
Whilst the concept sounds simple, there can be many things that need thinking about prior to arranging respite care, so Barchester Healthcare, who are a major UK care provider, have created a really useful guide to respite care.
This is a collaborative post.