5 Reasons Respite Care Benefits Seniors

Senior Care

We’ve talked before on the blog about the importance of respite care for family caregivers. But respite isn’t just beneficial for caregivers - it’s good for seniors, too. In this post, you’ll find the top five reasons that respite is great for both seniors and their caregivers. 

1. The Best Care Comes From Caregivers Who Are Cared For

Seniors receive better care from caregivers who care for themselves, too. Caregiver burnout is serious, and someone who is experiencing symptoms of burnout like intrusive thoughts, mood swings, depression or anxiety, and physical manifestations of stress is unlikely to be able to provide care to the best of their ability. 

If you’re experiencing burnout, you might be tempted to push through it and prioritize your senior loved one’s well-being over your own. But it’s essential to remember that your well-being has a direct effect on theirs, and that you owe it to both yourself and your loved one to know when you need help, and to ask for it. The breaks you take in order to take care of yourself are important for you both. 

2. Familial Relationships Need Tending, Too

Respite is good for your relationship with your senior loved one. As their primary caregiver, you probably make a lot of suggestions, provide a lot of reminders, and maybe even find yourself issuing instructions. This might be a pretty major shift in your relationship, especially if you’re caring for a parent. 

Our parents are accustomed to looking after us. It’s an adjustment to stop being a caretaker, and to start needing care instead. Parents are used to being the givers of advice and guidance, not being on the receiving end. The reversal of the roles in your relationship can be tough on both of you.

One way to make this change more comfortable for both our parents and ourselves is to give the relationship some space from time to time. Small breaks during which your loved one is receiving care and assistance from someone outside of the family can ease the pressures you might be experiencing in your new relationship dynamic with your senior loved one. If you are not always the one assisting your parent with their Activities of Daily Living, that leaves a space in which you can preserve your parent/child relationship.

It’s likely that you’ll both value the moments in which you can relate to each other simply as family members, instead of always occupying the roles of a caregiver and a person in need of care. 

3. Social Connection is Important for Seniors and Their Caregivers

Respite allows for greater social connectedness for both caregivers and their senior loved ones. As mentioned in the first point of this post, it’s very important for caregivers to invest time in self-care, which often involves spending time socializing with friends and family and talking about things other than caregiving. For seniors, one of the key benefits of respite care is the opportunity to form one or more new social connections. 

Many seniors deal with feelings of isolation. Even seniors who have close, frequent contact with their families go through the experience of seeing their social circles shrink. Seniors whose families invest in respite care gain new members in these diminishing social circles. At Mavencare, we aim to match seniors with caregivers they can get along with on a personal level - caregivers who speak the same languages, or who share interests or hobbies with the senior they’re caring for. 

4. Respite Care Can Help Ease Guilt 

Family caregivers often experience feelings of guilt - even though they shouldn’t. When you’re trying to balance your career, your caregiving responsibilities, your social life, your self-care, and perhaps also the care of your own children, it’s easy to start feeling like you’re not dedicating enough time to your senior loved one, or even like you’re abandoning them when you have other things to do. These feelings of guilt aren’t healthy for caregivers, and respite care services can help. 

Respite care can also help alleviate the guilt that seniors can feel within the caregiving relationship. Your senior loved one undoubtedly knows about all the areas of your life that need your attention, and this may cause them to feel like a burden . This sense of guilt isn’t any better for seniors than it is for their caregivers. 

Choosing to pursue respite care for your loved one is an effective way to relieve feelings of guilt on both sides of the caregiving relationship. Respite care will give you a chance to care for yourself and your other family members, do your job, and spend some time relaxing with the knowledge that your loved one is receiving quality care from a professional. It can also mitigate any feelings your loved one might be experiencing about being a burden to you, since you will no longer be the only one providing them with care. 

5. Respite Care Provides Support and Expands the Caregiving Team

An additional major benefit of involving another caregiver in your loved one’s life is the inclusion of another person on your loved one’s care team. The caregiver who provides respite will become a source of extra support - an additional member of the group of people invested in your loved one’s well-being. A respite care provider is another set of eyes observing your loved one’s symptoms, another set of hands assisting them with their mobility, and another mind that will become familiar with your loved one’s needs and how best to meet those needs. The involvement of someone else on your loved one’s care team - particularly someone with home care and/or senior care training - will help both you and your senior loved one as you navigate the challenges and the pleasures of their golden years.