Taking respite time can be a scary idea for some caregivers. It can feel as if you’re giving up control or as if you’re being irresponsible. Neither are true, but it can still take some time to wrap your brain around different ideas of respite. The best way to do so is to experience respite more often as a caregiver.
What Does Respite Mean to You?
One of the biggest problems that family caregivers run into when thinking about taking respite time is that they’re just not sure what respite really is. It helps to think about what respite is and does specifically for you. Is it an afternoon away? Is it an hour to have lunch with a friend? What does respite really mean to you?
You Don’t Have to Assign Specific Activities
Another misconception is that respite time has to have a specific activity associated with it for that time to be valid respite time. There’s no right or wrong answer about respite, though. One day your version of respite might be that lunch with a friend while another day respite might mean a nap to catch up on some sleep you’ve been missing. There aren’t right or wrong answers.
Let Yourself Enjoy Respite Time
You might also be concerned that you should be doing something productive with respite time. You don’t have to, particularly since the entire idea of respite is resting from constantly having to be incredibly productive. You don’t have to spend every minute of every day doing something that’s considered useful to the rest of the world. This is time that you can use just to enjoy doing whatever you want.
You Can Take Daily Respite, and Probably Should
For some caregivers, weekly respite feels overwhelming enough. But what about daily respite? If you had a way to take an hour or two each day to do other things besides caregiving, what more do you think you could accomplish? Whether you’ve got other family obligations or you need to worry some about your own health and well-being, daily respite may be a way for you to meet some other goals.
Relying on home care providers on a regular basis to take over while you enjoy some respite time can be an excellent solution for both you and your senior. It gives you a chance to take time away, which can help you to keep a positive perspective about caregiving.