Helping a family member or loved one during the final stages of their life can be a deeply meaningful experience. However, the everyday demands of hospice caregiving can also take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional reserves. But finding the support you need to keep going, can make all the difference. That’s where respite care comes in: It’s a regular part of hospice care that offers short-term relief for family caregivers.
Potential signs you need caregiving relief
As a caregiver, you often focus much of your energy on your loved one’s needs. Spending your days managing meals, helping your loved one stay safe and comfortable, and supporting them emotionally during this time is important work. At the same time, it can mean your own personal needs are taking a backseat (or getting neglected altogether).
When it starts to feel too hard to continue caring for your loved one — or yourself — in a healthy way, or you reach a point of exhaustion that leaves you feeling like you just don’t you have anything left to give, it’s time to ask for help.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms are similar to stress and depression. Signs of burnout may include the following:
- Changes in appetite, weight, or both
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
- Getting sick more often
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and other loved ones
“Plowing through might feel doable in the short term, but too much time without a break can lead to caregiver burnout, depression, and health problems. Every caregiver needs a caregiver — someone who will tend to your loved one for a few hours, days, or weeks so you can take care of yourself,” according to an AARP article.
How can respite care help?
Respite care is a short-term option that allows your loved one to remain in good care while you take time to recharge your batteries. Traditions Health offers respite care services in a Medicare-certified or Medicare-designated facility setting for up to five nights.
Many caregivers use respite care services:
- As a regular and needed relief to avoid experiencing caregiver burnout.
- During specific times they’re not able to care for their loved one, such as if they need to go out of town.
- When they’re too emotionally or physically exhausted to meet their loved one’s needs.
Sometimes, a little break can make a big difference. The moments you spend away from your loved one can help you rebuild the energy you need in body and mind to continue caring for them in the way that you want to.
Finding more resources
Traditions Health team members understand the importance of caring for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to help people have the best quality of life possible. To learn more about check out our caregiver resources.
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