Caring for someone who is sick or infirm can be a draining, thankless job requiring exhausting amounts of patience and effort. You may feel obligated to be available at a moment’s notice when acting as primary caregiver for a loved one, which can make maintaining your own well being difficult. It can feel as though you are trapped and unable to take care of your own life while acting as someone’s primary caregiver. Respite care exists to remedy this issue, though some misconceptions about employing someone for respite care may make it seem like less of an attractive option. These misconceptions do not reflect the great benefit that respite care can provide to the primary caregiver and the person they are caring for.
Employing a respite caregiver means you don’t care
The most common misconception about respite care is that, by hiring a respite caregiver, you don’t care about the person you are caring for. That is not the case. By hiring a respite caregiver, you allow yourself time to take care of yourself and your life. Many caregivers feel the pressures and burdens of taking care of someone prevent them from maintaining their own lives and health. As high as 60% of caregivers report experiencing significant health issues or disabilities. These health issues can interfere with providing the highest standard of care. By employing someone for respite care, you as a caregiver ensure that your own health will be taken care of, so you in turn can continue to care for someone else at your best.
The person you care for will think you abandoned them
Many people are unfamiliar with the concept of respite care and may believe that hiring a respite caregiver is more permanent rather than temporary. You may worry that the person you care for may think you’re abandoning them. This is not what is intended with respite care, as respite care functions as a way to allow caregivers the chance to take a break. It is not intended to serve as a permanent replacement, it is only a temporary way to ensure that the person you care for always receives the best care possible. Instead of abandonment, you are strengthening and ensuring the proper care of the person you look after, regardless of your own unforeseen circumstances.
Respite care is unaffordable
The perceived high cost of potential respite care may make it seem like less of an appealing option. Respite care is typically paid on an hourly basis, so employing a respite care service for just a few hours at a time can be an affordable option that still allows the primary caregiver to have the break they need without financial hardship. Medicare and Medicaid can also provide assistance with the cost of respite care, with Medicare covering the majority of the cost of up to 5 days in a row.
Don’t allow the misconceptions surrounding respite care to prevent you from employing a respite caregiver. Respite care is there to help ensure that you, as a primary caregiver, can continue to provide your best care to someone who needs it and still look after yourself. There is no shame in hiring a respite care service to ease your burden, and it will give you the time to care for yourself so that upon your return you can continue to provide the best care you possibly can.