Caring for the Caregiver: The Importance of Respite Stays


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Caring full-time for an aging loved one is rewarding, but it can also take some serious emotional and physical tolls. The stress and responsibilities of caregiving can build up over time and lead to burnout, depression, hypertension and other health problems. This is why senior living experts agree that in order to provide the best care for a loved one, you first have to take care of yourself.

“It’s impossible to give your all to someone else’s care when you’re exhausted, frustrated or physically ill,” says Kimberly Braswell, Director of Sales and Marketing at Stuart Lodge in Stuart, FL. “Additionally, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your own identity and happiness when you become a loved one’s caregiver. It’s vital for your mental and physical health to find the right balance of your caregiving responsibilities and other important parts of your life. Respite care is a wonderful way to allow yourself time to focus on other areas while your loved one receives secure, professional care.”

Overcoming Reservations About Respite Care

The majority of full-time caregivers in the U.S. are adult children, spouses or close friends of the person needing care. Because of the closeness of these relationships, providing care is usually a deeply personal experience. Some family caregivers find it very difficult to hand over their responsibilities, even temporarily, without feeling guilty, a sense of failure or concern for their loved one’s well-being.

The reservations surrounding respite care are understandable, yet they may be causing more harm than good for your situation. Many feel as though they are solely responsible for their loved one’s health and comfort, and by asking for help, they are letting their loved one down or admitting failure. However, no one can – or should expect to – handle the weight of caregiving all on their own. In addition, seeking respite care at an assisted living community, such as Stuart Lodge, ensures that your loved one is in kind, professional hands. Both the caregiver and loved one experience a better quality of life when the caregiver allows him or herself to take a break once in a while.

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

Find Relief with Respite Stays

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

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, utilizing respite care services can help you relieve stress and anxiety and give you a better sense of emotional well-being. From taking a week’s vacation to a simple afternoon to catch up with friends, respite care can allow you an ideal solution for finding balance in your life.

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

  • Renewal – Doing things that bring you joy can calm your nerves, decrease your heart rate and improve your mood. Pursuing what you love can have rejuvenating effects.
  • Energy – Handling 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 areas.
  • Space – Distancing yourself from your caregiving situation even temporarily 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. Don’t forget to maintain your sense of self and take care of your personal needs and desires.
  • Time Away – Spending time away from caregiving can allow you to see things more clearly and gain a better perspective. 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.

In addition to the benefits you’ll receive, your loved one will benefit as well from a respite stay as break from the routine. 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 can come home to a caregiver refreshed and ready to provide the best care possible.

The Support You Need. The Care They Deserve.

“At Stuart Lodge, we understand the challenges that come with the responsibility of caregiving,” shares Braswell. “We happily offer respite care services, including day services and short-term stays, for families who need a break from caregiving and want their loved ones to enjoy their time as well. Our guests can enjoy all our community has to offer, from fine dining experiences and engaging programs to quality health care services and the company of our joyful, welcoming residents.

“We also host a full schedule of social and educational events for caregivers and their loved ones. If you would like to learn more about senior living issues, or are looking for a fun way to spend time with your loved one, keep in touch for information about upcoming events!

“If you’d like to learn more about Stuart Lodge and the services we offer to seniors and families on the Treasure Coast, call us today or visit our website, StuartLodgeLiving.com.”

Come Flourish at Stuart Lodge!

Located on the Treasure Coast, Stuart Lodge offers Assisted Living services within the serene beauty of an Atlantic Coastal Lodge in the picturesque town of Stuart. 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 through 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 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 Stuart Lodge. Contact us today!