Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit too. Respite care provides family caregivers with temporary relief from day-to-day caregiving tasks, varying from a few hours to several weeks. Respite services can be provided through in-home care agencies, adult day services, facilities that allow short-term stays, individuals you hire directly or from friends and relatives willing to volunteer.
Respite assistance is part of many caregiver support programs, including the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) – available from your local department on aging. In addition, many private or nonprofit organizations offer fee-for-service respite assistance, including in-home assistance, a short-term stay in an assisted living facility or nursing home, or adult day services. Volunteer respite services are also available in many communities to provide companionship, protective supervision and other assistance.
Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed and exhausted or your health fails. Respite services, as well as support groups with other caregivers and help from your family and friends, can be invaluable. Reaching out for help when you need it is an important part of the job.