Every caretaker needs a caretaker.

According to a report from AARP titled “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020,” more than a third of family caregivers rate their job as highly stressful emotionally, and nearly 1 in 5 reports a high level of physical strain. Respite care can help.

Suffering through it might seem doable in the short term, but prolonged periods without a break can lead to caregiver burnout, depression, and a number of other stress-induced illnesses.

Respite care can help you stay well and get you through the long haul, which is good for you and your loved one. Despite this, only 14% of family caregivers avail themselves of respite services even though 38% believe that doing so would help them, according to AARP’s report.

Respite care can come from many sources: friends and family, volunteer groups, faith-based organizations, government agencies (local, state, federal), and professional home aides, like those provided by Seniors Prefer Homecare.

Designing a caregiving respite plan is probably easier than you think. There are three primary steps:

1. Ask Three Questions

Ask yourself three questions that will help you think through your needs and see who’s available to help you meet those needs:

  • What do I need? Four hours off, twice every week? Twenty-four hours away from the house? Regularly scheduled time off to be with spouse/friends? A combination of the above?
  • What does my loved one need? Meals? Light housekeeping? Laundry? Personal care, like bathing and dressing? Make a list of both the large and small requirements they have.
  • Who can step in for me? Make a list of friends, your loved one’s friends, and your family members both near and far away.

2. Call a Family Meeting

Include your out-of-town siblings and other family members via video chat, like Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Explain to them that you need regularly scheduled time away from the aging adult you all love.

To have a productive and successful family meeting, consider these three proven elements:

  • Be specific about what you need. Tell them what you and your loved one need. Will they need to administer medications? Prepare meals? Simply offer conversation and comfort?
  • Be flexible. People are more likely to pitch in if they have options. Give family members that work during the week the opportunity to help you on the weekends. Siblings who can’t make time may be able to contribute money to help pay for a professional caregiver.
  • Answer questions. Your family may expect caregiving to be overwhelming, or they fear not doing it correctly. Ask about any concerns they might have and answer to the best of your ability. For example, if anyone is uneasy about bathing a loved one or helping them use the toilet, consider having a home aide come during their respite shift.

3. Bring in Professionals as Needed

Agencies like Seniors Prefer Homecare provide respite care to help you and your loved one. You won’t need to worry when you’re taking a rest and recovery break, knowing that a highly qualified and carefully selected caregiver is at home with your loved one.

Let us help with your caregiving respite plan! Seniors Prefer Homecare respite care services are available seven days per week and can range from a few ho