Respite Care

Rebecca Tilby, Registered Manager at Katherine Harriet Ltd looks at Respite Care  

Rebecca Tilby quoted: Caregiving for an ill, elderly or disabled family member can be a demanding job and nobody should face it alone. Using respite care services can be very beneficial for those giving care and receiving care.

Palliative care aims to support clients and their loved ones emotionally, spiritually and practically before and after death.

What are the benefits of respite care?

There are many advantages of respite care for both the person receiving care and giving care. Below is a list of benefits that come along with employing a respite carer.

  • Socialisation
  • Everyone needs stimulation and conversation from multiple people. 
  • Respite care allows both the primary caregiver to go out and socialise with other family and friends, whilst allowing those being cared for to meet new people in the comfort of their own home.

Although those who are cared for can be apprehensive about meeting and spending time with new people, it can be beneficial for them to find friendships outside of their usual social bubble. Therefore it can be particularly important to source respite care for the elderly.

New experiences

Much like meeting new people, respite care allows those who need care to enjoy new experiences with their respite carer. This gives them the chance to take part in different exercises for their mental and physical health that they might not do with their full-time carer or family caregivers.


Sometimes even exercise can be dismissed by carers because they are too busy focusing on their loved ones and how they have to take care of them. More often than not, carers put the needs of their loved ones before their own and do not end up taking care of their own physical and mental health or personal care.

By using short term respite care periodically throughout the month, it will allow a carer to take time out to exercise and spend time looking after their own health, even if it is just a long walk once a week.

Hobbies and interests

Respite care allows carers to continue their hobbies and interests in their spare time without feeling guilty about it. Performing hobbies and activities is important because it allows carers to maintain their identity and enjoy their day to day lives without having to worry about somebody else. Resting and spending time away from their loved ones allows carers to avoid caregiver burnout.

Minimise stress

By using respite care, it can relieve stress on the family of those receiving care. This can help to lift any frustrations and exhaustion between everyone in the situation. It can enable families to relax and have peace of mind knowing their loved one is in good hands and is being taken care of whilst they take a quick break. Respite carers can even be hired to work on holiday with the family of those needing care so they can join in with their family and allow the usual carer to relax whilst enjoying their company.

Fresh eyes

As with everyone, daily routines can become repetitive and stale. Respite carers might offer a new and fresh approach to certain caregiving activities and tasks that might suit the loved one more. The respite care may be able to offer different tips and tricks to help the carer.

What is caregiver burnout and how can it be avoided?

All-day and night, caregivers make sure that their client or loved ones are looked after and all of their needs are met. This can often lead to neglect of their own mental and physical health. It is possible to go without a break in the short term but long periods of time without a break can cause caregiver burnout and other following health problems.

It is a common feeling for caregivers to feel guilty if they take a break and will put off having one until they are suffering mentally or physically. It is not unusual for those who are carers, either to a family member or to clients to under-report their feelings of stress in the fear of being seen as selfish for prioritising their own health.

Taking time away from the daily caregiving responsibilities is essential for all so it is important for carers to seek respite care service before the stress and pressure of caregiving becomes too much and leads to burnout.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion that can take a toll on a caregiver’s relationships, health and state of mind.

Common symptoms and signs of caregiver burnout include the following:

  • A large decrease in energy
  • Seem to catch cases of flu and colds more often than those around them
  • Neglect their own needs because they are too busy or have just given up
  • When their life revolves around caregiving, with barely any satisfaction
  • Have trouble relaxing even when help is offered
  • Short fuse with the one they are caring for
  • The constant state of exhaustion, even after sleeping

What is respite care?

Respite care is a type of assistance that allows a family caregiver to take a break from providing care to their loved one. Respite care focuses on helping family caregivers ease their stress, avoid caregiver burnout and recharge their mental and physical health.

Getting this time out can allow caregivers to maintain their own sense of identity by meeting friends, having holidays or just having space to themselves.

What does respite care provide?

Respite care allows the individual receiving care to carry on in their routine as close to what they are used to with their family member carer.

A respite carer can help the individual go to special events and social events and accompany them whilst they are there.

They can also attend medical appointments with the individual and make sure they are receiving all the care required from them along the way.

Respite carers are able to help with housekeeping in the place of the usual family carer to have things in the same condition as when they left.

Respite carers can also help the individual with personal hygiene and personal appearance if that is something they usually struggle with.

Respite care is always tailored to the caregivers and the individual’s needs, minimising the amount of change when a respite carer steps in, allowing everyone to feel comfortable.

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