Respite Stays: Understanding the Importance of Caring for the Caregiver


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If you are caring full-time for an aging loved one, then you know that while your role can be rewarding, it can also take some serious tolls on your physical and emotional health. The stress and responsibilities of caregiving build up over time and can lead to burnout, depression, hypertension and other health problems. This is why senior living experts agree that taking good care of yourself is necessary to providing the best care for your loved one.

“Your role as your loved one’s caregiver shouldn’t mean you no longer get to experience good health and happiness,” says Ruth Cantillon, Director of Sales and Marketing at Osprey Lodge in Tavares, FL. “You can’t give your all to someone else’s care when you’re physically ill, frustrated or emotionally drained. It’s important for your mental and physical health that you find the right balance of your caregiving responsibilities and the rest of your life. Respite care is a great way to give yourself time to focus on other areas while your loved one receives secure, professional care.”

Overcoming Concerns About Respite Care

In the United States, most full-time caregivers are adult children, spouses or close friends of the person in need of care. The closeness of these relationships often means that providing care is a deeply personal experience. Some family caregivers find it very difficult to release their responsibilities, even temporarily, without feeling a sense of failure, painful guilt or concern for their loved one’s well-being.

Although the concerns surrounding respite care are understandable, they may cause more harm than good. Many believe that they are solely responsible for their loved one’s health and comfort, and that by asking for help, they would be admitting failure. However, no one can – or should expect to – carry the weight of caregiving all by themselves. Additionally, seeking respite care at an assisted living community, such as Osprey Lodge, ensures that your loved one is in good hands, receiving professional care and services. Both you and your loved one experience a better quality of life when you allow yourself to take a break every now and then.

Letting these concerns keep you from taking care of your own needs puts you at risk of facing serious health consequences. According to the Mayo Clinic’s article, “Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself,” family caregivers often neglect their own health and well-being, ignoring their stress, anxiety and fatigue because they assume it’s just part of their role. If left unchecked, though, long-term stress can lead to serious health risks, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and depression. A short period of respite may be all it takes to start relieving your stress and ensuring your own good health.

How Respite Stays Can Offer Relief

Quality respite care is available in many forms. Family or friends can offer to take care of your loved one while you go shopping or take time for yourself. Local organizations such as churches and community centers may offer programs for older adults. Respite care can also be found at assisted living communities that offer respite services or adult day care.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, taking advantage of respite care services can help you relieve stress and anxiety and help you feel emotionally well. From taking time to recover from an illness to enjoying an afternoon with your friends, respite care can offer the ideal solution for finding balance in your life.

Shelley Webb, RN, creator of The Intentional Caregiver™ website and author of the article “Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers,” describes several ways respite care can help you find relief from stress and enjoy greater health:

  • Renewal – Doing what you love can calm your nerves, decrease your heart rate and improve your mood. Pursuing what gives you joy has rejuvenating effects.
  • Energy – Managing all the responsibilities in your life can drain you of energy, but taking a break can allow you to re-energize and be more effective in all you do.
  • Space – Distancing yourself from your caregiving situation gives you the chance to be “off” for a while, so you can relax, unwind and focus on other important matters.
  • Pleasure – No matter what your responsibilities, you have the right to enjoy life. Having time to do as you please allows for purposeful, fulfilled living.
  • Identity –You are more than just your loved one’s caregiver. Remember to maintain your sense of self and take care of your personal needs and desires.
  • Time Away – Spending time away from caregiving can give you a better perspective as you see things more clearly. Having time to rest can even help you think of new ideas or resources.
  • Engagement – Caregivers often suffer from social isolation. It’s important to spend time with your friends and family and keep your social ties – and support groups – strong and healthy.

In addition to the benefits you’ll receive, your loved one will benefit from a respite stay as well. If you utilize respite care services at an assisted living community, your loved one can enjoy socializing with their peers, participating in community activities and receiving professional care from the staff. And, they get to come home to a caregiver refreshed and ready to provide the best care possible.

Meeting the Needs of the Whole Family

“The responsibility of caring for a loved one comes with many challenges,” shares Cantillon. “At Osprey Lodge, we offer respite care services, including day services and short-term stays, for families who could use a break from caregiving. Our guests enjoy everything our community has to offer, from engaging programs to quality healthcare services and the company of our friendly residents and staff.

“We also provide regular social and educational events for caregivers and their loved ones. Whether you’d like to know more about senior living issues or are looking for a fun way to spend time with your loved one, Osprey Lodge has something for everyone.

“If you’d like to learn more about Osprey Lodge and the services we offer to seniors and families in Tavares and the surrounding region, call us today or visit our website, OspreyLodgeTavares.com.”

Come Flourish at Osprey Lodge!

Located on the banks of Lake Frances, Osprey Lodge offers Assisted Living and Memory Care services within the rustic warmth of a Colorado lodge in the rolling hills of central Florida. We provide an environment of socialization and volunteerism, as well as dependable health care services that promote independence, self-direction, social connections and daily purpose.

The Lodge lifestyle is a unique approach to senior living. While aging does come with challenges, our culture of connections creates an environment for residents to find daily purpose and joy. Here, residents don’t lose their independence. Instead, they receive countless avenues for which to connect with others through social activities or volunteer opportunities. We believe that everyone has something to contribute to their community, and we consider it our mission to help residents find what they can give – their skills, talents, company and enthusiasm.

Residents in our Assisted Living community and Memory Care program experience personalized, comprehensive healthcare services from dedicated, experienced professionals and staff. Each resident works with us to create their own Personal Care Plan, designed specifically for them to enjoy optimal independence while receiving the quality care they require.

We invite you to learn more about the fulfilling lifestyle and serves available at Osprey Lodge. Contact us today!