What is Respite Care?

November 29, 2021

What is respite care?

Quite simply, respite is about a temporary care solution to give an unpaid carer a break. It can be for as little as a few hours to several weeks.

Why would we need Respite Care?

If you’re an unpaid carer, it can be both tiring and a huge commitment, especially if your loved one needs 24/7 support. We all want the best for those we love, but that includes ensuring that we also get a break. If you make yourself ill, then you won’t be able to help them. Likewise, there are times when you might need to go away for a variety of reasons, from your own health appointments to family visits and a holiday.

It really is important that as an unpaid carer you don’t feel guilty about seeking respite care for your loved one. Quite apart from your physical health, there is also your mental health to consider.

If you don’t allow yourself to take a break, then that can snowball into a crisis for you, which will have a far more reaching impact on your loved one. Caregivers can feel frustrated by their situation, and if you don’t allow yourself a break, even if it’s to visit friends for a few hours a week, or to go on a week’s holiday, then the frustration can overwhelm you. This could severely impact your behaviour towards your loved one as you battle with guilt and frustration.

But my loved one only wants me to look after them?

It’s natural for your loved one to want you to be their carer. When somebody feels vulnerable or confused, they will turn to those they know and love for support. However, you have to separate the emotions from the practical considerations. Easier said than done we know. Here are some suggestions:

  • Depending on what kind of support you are giving, you could sit down with your loved one and explain that you need a break because you are burnt out. Make sure they realise this isn’t a back-door way for you to push them into something they don’t want, but is to ensure both you and they can continue to be together long term. Try to phrase it so they don’t feel guilty for being a burden, but can understand you simply need to have your own space sometimes.
  • If your loved one has dementia, they might not understand the reasoning behind your decision. It is therefore essential that you bring in dementia care specialists who will understand how to transition your loved one into respite care with the least anxiety.
  • If you or your loved one are still struggling, talk to a third party as they can bring an objective view of the situation.

What kind of respite care is available?

This is going to depend on your loved one’s needs as well as the length of time required, but could be as simple as finding a day care centre for your loved one to visit, or involve a professional carer coming into your home, or a stay at a care home or nursing home. If your loved one is on end-of-life care, then hospice might be more appropriate.

  • The Jersey Association of Carers has an excellent list of potential day care centre sessions which might be suitable, depending on the level of need. http://www.carers.org.je/respite.html
  • In your Home care. At LV Care, we offer community care options ranging from tailored 24 hour support, to sitting services and assistance around the home: https://lv.care/service/community-care/lv-home-care/ Our fully qualified specialists are also able to support more complex needs, including dementia: https://lv.care/service/community-care/dementia/
  • Our premium quality nursing and residential homes, across Jersey, can provide respite care for your loved one. You can discuss the options with individual care home managers who will be able to assess both yours and your loved one’s needs https://lv.care/our-homes
  • It is possible that friends or another family member could stand in for you, but sometimes this can be more embarrassing for the person being cared for than having somebody who is a professional looking after their needs. Discuss this with them first, and ensure your friend/family member is able to manage their needs.

How do I get advice on our options?

Speak to one of LV’s care professionals. They can assess your loved one’s needs and help you make the decision on which is the most appropriate option. We offer both in-home and care/nursing home respite care. https://lv.care/contact/