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Undertaking the role of being a caregiver for a family member or friend can be a very rewarding and fulfilling role, however it can also be a very emotionally, physically and mentally consuming responsibility. It is only natural for caregivers to experience moments of stress and a lack of energy. Seeking respite care allows caregivers to have a much deserved break in order to restore balance and energy into their lives. Although it is often a misunderstood term and commonly associated with negative connotations such selfishness, unnecessary and having no serious purpose, it is very much needed by caregivers at some time during their life. Many who do not understand it often undervalue and undermine its importance but for those who do understand and make use of the service, it forms an integral part of their lives and something they cannot do without.

For us to fully appreciate respite care services, we must first understand what it entails. It is a healthcare service which supports family or friend caregivers by providing temporary care for their loved one who requires daily assistance. The temporary relief of duties given to the caregiver allows he/she to rest, recharge or attended to any conflicting scheduling issues. As the care offered is temporary, it can range between anything from a few hours to weeks. Individuals with chronic illnesses, disabilities, terminal conditions and aged loved ones are eligible for receiving respite services for a once off time or on a regular basis providing support for the caregiver. Numerous past studies revealed that people who act as caregivers are at greater risk for contracting stress related health conditions such as chronic disease and depression. The relief provided to caregivers should not be considered a luxury but rather a necessary component for a caregiver. Respites should be regularly scheduled as it benefits both patient and caretaker.


Caregivers should request relief before they experience a total burnout as in many instances they are known to spread themselves too thin and push their bodies to extreme limits hereby setting themselves up for illness and unable to take care for both their loved ones and themselves. It would be in your best interest to take ample care of yourself by taking time to do joyous activities and seeing to your own personal responsibilities and accepting respite services in order to maintain your heath and continue providing the best possible care. Burnout can present itself in the following ways; anxiety, exhaustion, withdrawal from family and friends, irritability, lack or focus and ability to relax, forgetfulness, insomnia and a lack of appetite. Experiencing burnout is not beneficial to either person involved, it drains all your energy and can leave you experiencing feelings of resentment and providing care which isn’t up to standard. One should never feel guilty or ashamed of requesting additional care services as it means that you have your loved ones best interest at heart.


Taking a much needed break will allow the caregiver to rest and rejuvenate, reduce their stress levels, boost their immune system by allowing the body to rest, improve level of patience, attend to responsibilities which aren’t related to providing care, allows individual to take care of their own family life, provides the opportunity to gain new insight on the situation and provides growth and development opportunities. As much as it is beneficial to the caregiver, it is equally beneficial to the patient as well; providing variety for the patient, reduces social isolation and depression, ensures the patient is not neglected if caregiver is not available and patients can receive care from the comfort of their own home after they have a built a relationship and is familiar with the respite care personal.


Relief healthcare services cannot just be thrown upon the patient as it may be misconstrued and result in deterioration of health however it is also important to not discuss the arrangements too far in advance as the patient might spend too much time thinking and stressing over it. The arrangements must be discussed in a positive manner whilst highlighting all the benefits it will provide for both individuals. Be sure to relay the arrangements in a confident and calm manner and reassure your family member that they have nothing to be concerned about and express to your loved one that you look forward to hearing about their respite experience. Respite services should never be overlooked as it is a key component in any health care plan. If you are interested in obtaining more information regarding this unique service, contact Unique Health today and speak to one of our healthcare professionals. Request respite care sooner rather than later so you can enjoy a happier and healthier time with your loved one instead of being resentful.