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Small breaks can make a big difference and that’s especially true when it comes to taking respite from a caring role.

Short term care, or respite care as it’s traditionally known, has a whole host of benefits for not only the carer in need of a break but their loved one receiving that care.

Caring is an extremely demanding job, both physically and emotionally for both the carer and the person being cared for, with carer fatigue becoming more and more common.

What is short term care?

Short term care, or respite care, is short-term professional care that is designed to give the primary caregiver a respite from their caring role. This can take the form of short breaks of a few hours each week or longer breaks to allow carers to take a holiday or just have a break to recharge.

Taking these well-earned breaks occasionally to recharge your batteries and take some time for yourself outside of your caring role is important. By taking breaks, even as short as four hours per week, carers report an improvement in their own physical and mental health and lower levels of stress. Utilising short term care has also been shown to improve the care relationship and environment for both carer and person being cared for.

But the benefits don’t stop there.

Benefits of short term care for carers

As well as reducing the amount of stress felt by carers, short term care has a number of other benefits, including:

  • Restores energy and patience for the caring role
  • Provides an opportunity for holidays and outings
  • Improves the carer’s ability to cope with the daily responsibilities of caregiving
  • Allows the carer to reconnect with personal passions, maintain friendships and pursue personal development opportunities
  • Gives the carer balance in their life to attend to other responsibilities outside their caring role.

Benefits of short term care for those being cared for

Short term care also has a number of benefits for those being cared for. These include:

  • Variety in relationships and social opportunities
  • Opportunity for growth and development
  • Quality care to suit their needs while their primary caregiver is away
  • In the case of at-home respite, the opportunity to remain living in the environment they feel most comfortable while care comes to them
  • When accessing respite out of the home, there is a change of scenery and company that can be enjoyable and open up new opportunities.

How do I take a break as a carer?

Respite or short-term care is available to support you when you need a break for short periods of time – this may be hours, days, or weeks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from your role as a carer. This gives you the opportunity to take some time out for yourself, spend time with family and friends, do some shopping, or just relax!

Types of care:

  • Family or friends who care for your loved one in your absence may offer respite care
  • Respite care can be offered in a formal setting such as an aged care home
  • Private respite can be delivered in your home
Related content: Seasons Short Term Care

When might you consider short term care?

  • If you need to take some time to deal with your own personal or medical issues.
  • You may need extra assistance when your loved one returns home from a hospital stay.
  • If you have an emergency/family/personal issue you need to manage that doesn’t involve the person you care for.
  • When you need a physical and mental break – whether it’s time for a coffee, a catch up with friends, or a holiday!

Plan ahead for care

The best way to make sure you get the break you need is to map out times throughout the year and get in early to book in your chosen care. Taking regular breaks also allows your loved one to get used to the alternative care arrangements, making it easier to take a break the next time you need it.

This post first appeared on Envigor’s blog.

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Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.