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Benefits of short term respite care

Respite care is an important service that provides carers with a break from their duties while being reassured that their older loved one is receiving quality aged care services.

Key points:

  • Both carers and their older loved ones can benefit from short term respite care

  • It can give an older loved one the opportunity to trial a potential future aged care facility

  • Respite services can help a carer deal with any burnout they are experiencing

Woman relaxing during her respite
The carer and care recipient will benefit from short term respite, allowing them to feel rejuvenated next time they see each other. [Source: iStock]

Being a carer can be exhausting, especially if you are an informal carer as your responsibilities go beyond the normal 9-5 working hours.

Long caring periods without a break can result in carer burnout, which is why respite care is beneficial to the wellbeing of carers.

Positives of short term respite

There are many benefits to respite care for both the carer and their older loved one. For carers, this can be a well-deserved break, while older loved ones may enjoy the socialisation and quality care they receive while in respite.

Older loved ones may need respite care if they are recovering from a recent illness or injury, or need assistance after returning home from a hospital stay.

Accessing respite care can reassure their older loved one that they will get back on their feet and feel fighting fit when they head back home.

Carers can benefit from respite through:

  • Time to their self for hobbies, appointments or daily tasks 

  • A break or relaxation period from normal caring duties

  • Allows for recovery from illness, injury or carer burnout

  • Opportunity to visit family or go on a holiday

  • When requiring care for their loved one during a personal emergency 

A care recipient can benefit from respite through:

  • Change of scenery from normal day-to-day life at home

  • Chance to engage with other people and socialise, which can help with issues like social isolation

  • Access to quality care and services

  • Various lifestyle and community activities, depending on what the facility provides

  • Time to recover from an injury or illness in an aged care setting, including transition care services

  • Allows the care recipient to trial an aged care home before potentially moving in

In most cases, the carer and care recipient will benefit from a short term respite care stay. It gives both individuals a break, leading them to feel rejuvenated and relaxed next time they see each other.

Carer burnout

Carer burnout is a common reason for people to seek short term respite care. It is a prevalent mental, emotional and physical health issue for carers, as they are putting a lot of their time and effort into giving their older loved one the best care and support possible.

Carer burnout can occur if a carer experiences ongoing stress, feelings of being overwhelmed or are feeling exhausted from providing care. In many cases, carers may feel isolated from others or like they don't have any support.

Additionally, carers will often ignore their own health and wellbeing to take care of their older loved one. This can make it difficult for carers to hand over the reins for a brief period of time to take time for themselves.

Carer burnout can appear as:

  • Issues with sleeping and feelings of fatigue

  • Low energy

  • Headaches

  • Mental health problems, like depression, anxiety, or mood swings

  • Becoming ill or sick easily

  • Unable to concentrate or having no motivation

Short term respite care can give someone the break they need to deal with carer burnout, and allow them to rest without worrying about their older loved one's wellbeing or care.

What benefits have you found from utilising short term respite care? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

What types of respite care are there?
Differences between respite at home and nursing home respite

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