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What Is Respite Care? Why Do I Need It?

Caregiving Basics
Brenda with family Total

Respite care gives you a short-term break from caregiving. It might involve asking a friend to sit with your loved one for a couple hours while you do chores. Or you could take your loved one to an adult day services center while you run errands. Or arrange for a home health aide to stay with them for a weekend so you can go to a family event.

Benefits of Respite Care

You might hesitate to leave your loved one with someone who doesn’t know the routine, but taking a break from caregiving is important. Caregiving is hard work! Studies show that caregivers who take breaks are happier and feel less stress.

Respite care is also good for patients. People who are involved with respite care have fewer behavioral problems and sleep better at night.

What to Consider

When you look into respite care, think about the kind of help you your loved one needs. Those needs may change over time.

Depending on how long your break from caregiving will be, your loved one may need a caregiver with special training.

If your loved one has trouble with changes in routine or with meeting new people, start by having the caregiver visit while you are present. That way your loved one can get used to the new person.

Be sure that you’re hiring a properly trained caregiver from a reputable agency. This is where VNS Health can help. All VNS Health home health aides are certified and insured. And they receive 114 hours of training — 39 hours more than the minimum required by New York State.

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