No matter what you’ve been told, respite care is not “self-indulgent” or “lazy” by any stretch of the imagination. It is a huge task and responsibility to care for senior friends and family who can no longer function entirely on their own in safety, and often times this will bring caregivers and their loved ones closer together. But all too often, the responsibilities of caring for a person who can be in such a delicate condition-especially as they reach the final years of their life-can burn out even the most knowledgeable and compassionate of caregivers.

That’s why it is so important for caregivers of the elderly to achieve a brief respite every now and then, whether it’s just for a few hours while you run errands or for a few days to handle personal matters and get some much-deserved rest. Respite care affords you, the caregiver, the opportunity to de-stress so that you can return to your day-to-day routine with a refreshed mind and body.

The Benefits of Using Respite Care

There are numerous advantages that come along with making use of respite care facilities in Ottawa. If a caregiver becomes too emotionally and/or physically drained, this is not good for either the caregiver or the person that they are taking care of. If you can’t find the time to ever take care of yourself, how can you effectively take care of someone else? At Affinity Health Ottawa, we understand this. Our team of caregivers and compassionate staff members want to not only help your aging loved one, but also help you receive some needed self-care.

Some of the benefits of choosing respite care include:

  • Time to yourself – When caring for another human being, it can be downright impossible to find any “you” time. Time to read a book, take a relaxing bath or even just go to the grocery store without a time constraint is important to a caregiver’s well-being. Utilizing respite care for your loved one can help you to slow down and recharge for the months ahead.
  • A new perspective – Spending some time away from the usual routine that comes with caregiving can help caregivers to reevaluate their position with a freshened and invigorated mind. Clearing your head is so important when it comes to keeping the details of your life and your loved one’s life-together and organized.
  • Enjoyment – Just because you are a caregiver does not mean that you don’t have as much a right as anybody else to enjoy your life. Respite care can afford this opportunity for you to do things that you enjoy, that you normally cannot find the time to do.
  • A stronger sense of self – When you adopt the role of becoming somebody’s caregiver, this can become all-consuming, to the point where you’re not even sure what your own identity even is anymore. Having some time away from your usual circumstances can help to reaffirm your identity as a whole person, and not “just” a caregiver.
  • Socialization – Being someone’s primary caregiver can completely deplete your social life. And even if this is a sacrifice that you are glad to make for your loved one, it’s not necessarily healthy. You need to be able to reconnect with your friends and other family members, rather than feeling like you’re shackled to your home at all times.

What you Should do if you have Chosen Respite Care in Ottawa

  • Make your loved one a part of the decision – It is important that the person you’re caring for is informed of your intention to use respite care, and are involved in the details such as how long you will be away for. Explain to your loved one how they will benefit from having a calmer and more relaxed you around, and don’t feel guilty for needing a break. Tell them that they, too, will benefit because they will get to interact with other people who they might not meet otherwise.
  • Realize your role as a caregiver – When people end up in the role of being someone else’s caregiver, it can be easy for any other roles to fall to the wayside-including your role as a parent or spouse. It’s important to accept that caregiving is an entirely separate role in your life.
  • Understand your needs – You need to decide what care will be needed while you are away, as well as if there are any additional caregiver skills required that you will need to impart to the respite care facility staff.
  • Keep yourself organized – Use a calendar or planner to schedule everything that you want to accomplish, as well as arranging the time for yourself while your loved one is in respite care.
  • Find your oasis – Once you’ve accepted that respite care is an impending need of yours, it’s time to set up a place accessible to you wherein you can feel at ease, even “zen.” Utilize this space to relax and indulge in your hobbies or whatever else you love to do.
  • Acknowledge your feelings – If you bottle up your emotions, this can have negative effects on your mental and physical well-being. It’s important to seek support from individuals who understand your unique perspective as a caregiver. Try reaching out to other caregivers, either in person or online, or family members who can understand your frustrations.
  • Don’t forget that you can say “no” – Nobody can do everything for everybody, all the time. It’s impossible, and trying to do this will just burn you out and possibly make you resentful against the very people who’ve recruited your help. If you can’t find the time, resources or energy to do something that is asked of you, even if by a loved one, it’s okay to tell them no. Don’t feel guilty about it, either. You’re just one person, after all.
  • Stay positive – This can be hard to do in this situation, but it’s important to try. Bring in mediators and impartial parties to help resolve conflicts between family members, and always remember that you are doing good work in taking care of your loved one.

Let Affinity Health Ottawa Help you, to Best Help your Loved One

It takes a great deal of heart, patience, and love to agree to become somebody else’s caregiver, but every person has their limits. Sometimes the responsibilities and pressures that are associated uniquely with this role can become a heavy weight on your shoulders that threatens to crush you. And it’s important to step away from things when that happens. By taking care of yourself, you can facilitate the best care possible as a caregiver to your elderly loved one. That’s where Affinity Health in Ottawa can help.

If you need to take a load off, or just need some help to lighten the load every now and then, call us at 613-798-5111 to discuss your options for respite care in Ottawa.