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A Guide To Respite Care

25 January 2024

For unpaid carers, time is a precious commodity, but in order to give loved ones the support and care they need, it's important to take care of yourself too.”

In the present-day caring world, we’re very fortunate to have a variety of different forms of care in the UK, meaning that many people in need of care have the opportunity to receive it.

For some people, becoming a carer is an employment opportunity; however, there are many others who care for a loved one at home alongside other commitments, and the pressure can feel a little too much. In fact, according to The Health Foundation, more than 5 million people (9% of the population aged 5 and older) in England and Wales were providing unpaid care in 2021- and this number is likely to continue to rise.

This is where Respite Care comes into the picture.

In this article, we’ll look into the benefits of respite care, as well as discussing the types of care available, the grants available to help with support costs, and so on. If you are looking at joining the care group community by starting a career as a carer, this article could benefit you too.

What Actually Is Respite Care?

Respite care is a form of temporary or short-term care relief for a primary caregiver, where trained professionals or other caregivers fill in so that you can attend to your own needs.

There are many types of respite care available such as;

  • Daycare centres
  • Care at home from a paid carer
  • Short stay in a care home
  • Getting friends and family to help
  • Respite holidays
  • Sitting services
  • Trips out to places such as the cinema

It’s no secret that caregiving can be mentally challenging at times, and your routine may have drastically changed since you began attending to the needs of a dependable person. If you’ve found that things feel overwhelming at the moment, and you need a chance to breathe, respite care could be something you turn to.

Who Can Receive Respite Care?

  • In short, anyone who is cared for can receive respite care. Often, elderly people receive short-term respite care following a hospital stay or operation; this is known as convalescent care. The focus here is short-term recovery following the medical procedure or illness, where the dependent person is monitored by medical professionals as opposed to their regular primary caregiver.
  • People living with conditions such as Alzheimer's and Dementia often use respite care services at home, but services such as Daycare Centres can also help provide temporary relief to a primary caregiver.
  • People living with multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s (PD), and other similar conditions commonly benefit from respite care, often including domiciliary care (care within the home) or short-term stays in a care home.
  • Respite care also applies to those with physical disabilities, too, and it's important to remember that it isn't just for those who are elderly. Everyone who cares for another person is entitled to a break; this means that those who are cared for can receive respite care.

Respite Holidays, Breaks And Days Out

Respite care isn’t just a great opportunity for a primary caregiver to have a break- it also provides the person who’s cared for an opportunity to experience a day out, a weekend away or a trip abroad.

Many care centres, such as ourselves, offer respite holidays both abroad and in the UK, weekends away and spa days, just to name a few. Take comfort in knowing that the one you care for is in safe hands, experiencing a great day out whilst you get some well-deserved rest, have a chance to socialise or just take the opportunity to finish some tasks.

Benefits Of Respite Care For Those Receiving Care

  • Tailor-made to suit their needs - Many forms of respite care offer personalised and comprehensive treatment to suit their needs. Those who are temporarily taking on caring responsibilities will know what is best for each individual they’re looking after, and their day-to-day health will be monitored closely.
  • Qualified staff - Staff working in respite centres, care homes, etc. are qualified to look after the person you normally care for, much like if they were regularly living in long-term care. Regular parts of their routine will be maintained, such as medication management, and care staff will be in contact should anything come up.
  • Involving family and friends - Asking family members or friends to step in whilst you need a carer break can help the one you care for feel more at ease if they’re not as comfortable being cared for by strangers. This could be particularly useful if you need just a few hours a day from your usual caring duties, and provides an opportunity to strengthen family bonds too since it’s a team effort.
  • Community involvement - Through opportunities such as respite breaks, as well as more local services such as daycare centres, the service user can engage in a community and make new friends; promoting a sense of belonging on a wider scale. This can empower them, giving them the freedom to choose what activities they would like to do, and so adding to a greater well-being.

It’s Okay To Take A Break From Caring

Caring can be stressful, especially if you’re caring for a loved one at home. Many unpaid carers feel guilty when considering a break from caring, even if it’s just for a few hours a day. There are many other emotions that can follow when caring for someone at home, including frustration, social isolation, grief or even resentment. If these feelings are something you can associate with, then it could be time to tell yourself that it’s okay to take a break from caring and look after your mental well-being, exploring respite care options. Changes in routine can happen all the time, especially when events like moving house occur, so respite care could be an option that helps such events feel smoother.

Benefits Of Respite Care For The Primary Caregiver

  • Prevents burnout - This is very important for both caregivers and the one they care for; burnout for a carer can feel exhausting as the demands of caring can take its toll, leading to physical and emotional stress. This in turn could negatively impact the one you care for and the quality of care you feel able to provide. Respite care can help prevent burnout, giving you regular time to recharge and have a well-deserved break.
  • Fits a variety of routines - Respite care is flexible to both the carer and cared-for, meaning there can be an option of care which suits what you need. For example, if you feel you need time free in the middle of your day to clean the house, go shopping and so on, there will be varying forms of respite care that can suit those requirements.
  • Rebuild social bonds - Many people who caregive feel some form of loneliness, ranging from moderate to severe in some cases; CareUK have found that 50% of unpaid carers experience loneliness. By utilising respite care services, you can take back control of your social life, bringing more balance between caring and socialising.
  • Take the holiday you’ve been longing for - Respite care offers more than just the chance to restore normality to your daily routine; it gives you a chance to visit the city you’ve been seeing on social media, relax on the beach you’ve been dreaming of, or spending some general quality time somewhere new. Remember, it’s okay to say that you deserve a break from caring.

Grants And Funding

Many people may be put off from respite care because of any potential associated costs. However, there are some grants and funding available to give you the financial help you may need.

  • For council funding, both yourself and the one you care for need to fill out an assessment form; AgeUK has further information on where to find this. It’s worth noting that even if you’re unsure if you’ll receive funding, you should still apply as you will still receive invaluable advice on general caring support.
  • There are a range of grants and charitable funds available, such as Carers Trust grants, alongside general support groups such as Respite Association.
  • Privately paid respite care could also be a route you go down, especially through paid sitting services within your own home if this suits your needs better.

Thinking Of Starting A Career In Caring?

Caring can be an incredibly rewarding career choice, with many opportunities for career progression and qualifications. You can start a career in caring even if you have no prior qualifications - most care centres offer the opportunity to gain these as you work.

Alongside traditional care work, working in respite care has many benefits for yourself and the wider community;

  • You’ll be making a difference to those around you, especially those who care at home and need a break; maybe you could be the person to give them that much-needed break?
  • Flexible working hours to suit your routine
  • Positive work-life balance
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people who are passionate about caring
  • Joining an industry that is constantly expanding and improving

Butterflys Care Group Can Provide The Respite Break You Need

At Butterflys Care Group, we understand the importance of good quality care and take pride in the level at which we deliver just that. We know the dedication that caring for someone requires, so we are keen to lift the responsibilities off your shoulders to give you the space to breathe.

If you would like to enquire about our respite care services, get in touch today.

Talk to us

We are more than happy to speak to you regarding any of our services or for some general advice.
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