Understanding respite care (and how it can benefit you)

If you have taken on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, you may have already realized the effects that stress can have on your own health and well-being. Even with the pleasure of having a loved one in their own home – or at home with you – and the fulfillment that can come from being able to provide that care, it’s still important to consider taking advantage of opportunities to care for yourself.

Respite care is short-term professional care designed to provide the opportunity for caregivers to care for themselves. While you may initially be resistant to giving up your responsibilities, respite care can serve to give you the time you need to rest and relax, so you can return to your responsibilities with renewed energy.

Why is respite care important?

Over 16 million adults in the United States spend time caring for a family member with a disability. More than half of them – nearly 9 million people – have serious health issues of their own. Taking advantage of respite care before you become exhausted, isolated, or overwhelmed can be invaluable for all involved. Experts say that simply anticipating regularly scheduled relief can be an emotional lifesaver.

In addition to needed “downtime” for relaxation, respite care gives you a chance to spend time with friends and family, exercise, rest, and do the things that provide personal pleasure and fulfillment in your life. Respite care also offers comfort and peace of mind of knowing that your loved one is spending time with other caring individuals in a safe, comfortable place.

Here are just a few of the benefits that caregivers may enjoy from taking advantage of respite care:

  • A renewed sense of energy – To be effective in your busy life, you must take time to re-energize by enjoying activities that help you relax and enjoy yourself.
  • A moment to breathe – Experiencing a reprieve from your caregiving responsibilities for even just a few hours can help you relax and help you discover a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Personal joy – As a caregiver, you must remember that you have the right to enjoy life. You have no reason to feel guilty for taking time away.
  • The ability to retain your identity – You must be purposeful in maintaining your sense of self. You are important too!
  • Perspective – Time away from caregiving allows you to see more clearly and keep things in proper perspective.
  • The chance to reconnect with others – Take time to engage with your friends and family by sharing a meal, taking a shopping trip, or doing whatever gives you personal enjoyment.

No matter how well you care for your loved one, the effects of stress on your own health and well-being are important reasons to consider respite care. If you’re experiencing the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that providing care can take, it’s important to know you have options.

If you are currently providing support and care for a parent or loved one, consider reaching out to the professionals at American Health Corporation regarding your options for short-term respite care. We can help you select the level and frequency of care that suits your budget and your loved one’s needs, as well as your own. Facilities managed by American Health Corporation – including three locations in Alabama – offer the highest quality healthcare nearby and offer programs to help patients and families navigate complex situations and make difficult decisions.

Contact the American Health Corporation location in your area today for more information about the facilities and capabilities or to schedule a guided tour:

Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383

Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054

Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696