The Benefits of Residential Respite Care

The ability to care for older or vulnerable people and to ensure a good quality of life for most people at all ages is one of the defining aspects of humanity. Many of us who provide care take great joy in doing so; there’s a feeling of value in being immediately helpful that appeals to a great many people.  Nevertheless, those who provide care not because they have chosen this activity as a profession but because of their own perceived duties to a loved one tend to have less support and often more substantial burdens, and can start to suffer personally as a result of their responsibilities to others.

Family caregivers are around twice as likely to have comparatively poor health, a chronic condition or a disability relative to those who do not provide care in this way. This presents two problems: the caregiver’s quality of life suffers, and the likelihood that the quality of care they can provide will be reduced is greatly elevated. The ‘caregiver burden,’ the subjective stress which is experienced by those who give care not for professional but for personal reasons, is the most important alarm bell in predicting a negative outcome for the carer and the care recipient.

There are a variety of ways in which this problem can be addressed. In some cases, helping the caregiver to change their approach and coping strategies can be helpful in reducing the perceived burden. Sometimes it’s possible for changes in behaviour on the part of the care recipient to contribute to an overall solution. In most cases, a setup which allows the carer to pursue a fulfilling life of their own in addition to providing care is the most effective and desirable solutions, but the difficulty in arriving at this situation may seem insurmountable without institutionalisation of the care recipient.

A popular alternative is the concept of respite care. This is care provided not for those who are usually the recipients of care, but instead for those who are typically care providers themselves. Respite care is aimed at giving caregivers some time to attend to their own needs, a chance to relax, and a break from the constant demands of care provision. This easing of the caregiver burden will hopefully enable the caregiver to attend to their own mental and physical wellbeing, and thereby reduce the long-term stress caused by care provision.

Respite care has proven highly effective, though its efficacy differs from person to person. This type of care is most effective when it can be accessed regularly, giving the caregiver the security of knowing that they can, least temporarily, remove themselves from the stressful situation if and when they need to. Respite care is also far more effective in combination with other methods of support and training, aimed at addressing some of the root causes of the caregiver burden. The concept is relatively (<100 years) new, but has become far more popular and as such far more expansive and fleshed-out in recent years. All sorts of interpretations and varieties have been implemented, each suiting different situations; some models see the care recipient temporarily institutionalised while some provide in-home care. As the provision of respite care becomes increasingly widespread and well-known, the services through which it’s delivered provide a vital social resource, enabling caregivers to look after their loved ones while conserving their own wellbeing, and ensuring that everyone’s needs are met.

We would love to show you how we can help you or a loved one.  Book a visit here to see one of our homes and find out about our award-winning respite care.