Caring is an extremely demanding job, both physically and emotionally for both the carer and the person being cared for.
Caring is often a full-time role and it’s important to take well-earned breaks occasionally to recharge your batteries and take some time for yourself outside of your caring role. By taking breaks, even as short as 4 hours per week, carers report an improvement in their own physical and mental health and lower levels of stress.
How do I take a short term break as a carer?
Respite care is short term care that is available to support you when you need a break for short periods of time, this may be hours, days, or weeks. This gives you the opportunity to take some time out for yourself, spend time with family and friends, do some shopping, or just relax.
It is widely recognised that by taking breaks, the environment improves for both the carer and the person being cared for.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break as a carer. Research actually shows that by taking regular breaks, the risk of hospitalisation and extra doctors visits are reduced.
The person you care for will also enjoy a change of scenery and company too.
What short term care options are available?
Short term or respite care can take the form of informal or formal options, including:
- Family or friends who care for your loved one in your absence may offer respite care.
- Respite care within a formal setting such as an aged care home.
- Respite and short term care services delivered at home.
When should you consider short term care?
There are a number of reasons why you might be considering short term care. What’s important is that you are ensuring the health and wellbeing of yourself as well as the person you care for.
Common reasons that carers seek short term care include:
- Needing to take some time to deal with your own personal or medical issues.
- Extra assistance when your loved one returns home from a hospital stay.
- Emergency/family/personal issue you need to manage that doesn’t involve the person you care for.
- When you need a physical and mental break – whether it’s time for a coffee, a catch up with friends, or a holiday.
Having a regular short term care option can make it easier to take breaks in the future too and has been proven to not only improve emotional health for both the carer and the individual but reduce the likelihood that the care recipient will need to move into aged care.