In short, respite care is when a professional caretaker comes in and provides care in order to allow a primary caretaker to have time to care for themselves.
Usually respite care is provided to help a permanent caretaker of a parent of a child with special needs or to a family member who is caring for an elderly or sick person, like a woman with Alzheimer’s disease or a neurodivergent adult.
Respite care allows the caretaker to go and take a break and/or take care of themselves. A respite care provider will come into the home and take on all of the responsibilities for the caretaker to provide the same level of care and comfort as the patient needs. The caretaker is then freed up to do anything they want from napping to shopping to getting a massage to going to coffee with friends.
The amount and duration of respite care that is given depends entirely upon the person requesting it. Respite care can last an afternoon, a few days, a week, or even a couple of months. The amount of care given is determined by the person requesting it as well, they can hire a CNA or an RN or a personal care attendant as they see fit.
Respite care helps the caretaker maintain their own mental and physical health so that they can offer their best self to care for the patient at all times. Respite care is meant to prevent burn out, frustration, and the feeling of being overwhelmed as a caretaker. Respite care can be a real life saver for both the patient and the caretaker.
If you are a caretaker who needs a guilt-free, worry-free break, consider inquiring about respite care.