Respite care

It may be hard to imagine leaving your loved one in someone else's care, but taking a break is one of the best things you can do for yourself as well as the person you're caring for. Most communities have some type of respite care available, such as:

  • Adult care centers. Many adult care centers are located in churches or community centers. Some care centers provide care for both older adults and young children, and the two groups may spend time together.
  • Day hospitals. These hospitals provide medical care during the day. In the evening, your loved one returns home.
  • In-home respite. Health care aids come to your home to provide companionship, nursing services or both.
  • Short-term nursing homes. Some assisted living homes, memory care facilities and nursing homes accept people needing care for short stays while caregivers are away.

The caregiver who works outside the home

Two-thirds of caregivers work outside of the home. Juggling work responsibilities and caregiving isn't easy, and employed caregivers experience high levels of caregiver stress. If you're in this situation, try these strategies for balancing your work and personal responsibilities:

  • Learn to delegate. Share your work — and home — responsibilities with others. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Investigate support services. Ask your human resources department about resources your company offers, such as support lines or referral services. Then make use of these assistance programs.
  • Keep information flowing. Keep an open line of communication with your supervisor and co-workers.

You aren't alone

If you're like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed. Rather than struggling on your own, take advantage of local resources for caregivers. To get started, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to learn about services in your community. You can find your local AAA online or in the government section of your telephone directory.

Mar. 23, 2012 See more In-depth