Caregiver stress can be a burden for family caregivers. However, caregivers who schedule respite care before they feel the need to rest and relax know how important planned breaks can be in combating burnout.
Scheduling and planning for rest should be done well in advance of when the actual respite break is needed. And, only a family caregiver knows what type of break is the most restful. For some caregivers a weekly day or afternoon off provides a necessary relief from the every day stresses of providing care. For other caregivers, an uninterrupted weekend retreat is an ideal way to unwind and recharge. Some caregivers know that a week-long visit to a favorite getaway is what it takes to unkink knots in tense shoulders.
This year-end period is an excellent time to break out the 2015 calendar and begin planning the best respite breaks for you and your family.
1. Decide what type of break works best for you.
Take a moment to consider what type of break meets your needs and how often a break is needed in order for you to be your best as a family caregiver.
2. Consider your available resources.
Are you comfortable in a neighborhood hotel? Can you borrow a friend’s lakeside cottage? Do you have a favorite mountain or seaside destination? Do you prefer a high-energy getaway with lots of sporting activity? Or, is a hammock stretched between two shade trees ideal?
3. Check your calendar and begin allocating afternoons, week ends or a couple of longer getaway periods.
Scheduling respite breaks is half the battle. Determine if a combination of weekly breaks, monthly breaks, and an annual vacation fits your needs. Or, do you know that a three-day weekend every month is an excellent reward to look forward to each month? Is Tuesday lunch and a movie with your “besties” a great way to unwind each week?
4. Let your your family and your support team know your plans.
Let your siblings or adult children know your respite care plans and ask them to begin scheduling some the respite breaks into their own calendars so that a weekend visit with Mom or Dad can serve as a respite break for you. If other family members are not available to provide respite care, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide companionship so that you can rest comfortably.
5. Make a contingency plan for the unexpected.
As we all know, the best of plans can be interrupted by life. It’s cold and flu season and there may be days when you simply can’t provide care for your loved one. Think ahead and plan today for those days when you are “under the quilts.” Trusted family members and friends may fit the bill for emergency relief. Or, you may wish to check out an adult day care option in your neighborhood. It’s best to have a plan in place long before it’s needed.
Remember, it’s important to take care of the caregiver and we want you to remain healthy and fit in 2015! Plan to make a plan and carve out the time that you need for rest and relaxation.