Caregiving is too big for one person to do alone. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what most caregivers try to do, at first. This is especially a problem when you are caring for a spouse with cancer or other chronic illness. In the past, it might have always been the two of you working as a team. You probably think that’s how this is going to work, as well. But, cancer is just too big for one caregiver to handle alone. Respite care can be the perfect weapon your battle with burnout.
It really can feel lonely
The patient may come home from treatment and go to bed for 8 hours. During that time, you are left to take care of the things you normally do as well as the things your spouse usually does. On top of that, it’s likely that your spouse won’t be feeling well and will need extra attention. If you have kids, they will need attending to, as well. And, what about your needs? Have you even gone to the bathroom, yet, today? Or eaten?
Often caregivers feel guilty asking for respite help.
Many times, men don’t have a support system in place to help them as they care for a wife with cancer. More than three-fourths (78 percent) of male caregivers caring for a spouse did not have help from other unpaid caregivers in caring for their spouse.
While women often form a support system, they struggle to utilize it as well as they could, particularly when it comes to respite care. We would encourage another caregiver to take a break to recharge, but doing that, ourselves is so hard.
Yet, respite care is essential to preventing burnout.
- Caregivers often experience social isolation. Scheduling some respite care can enable you to spend time with others, talking about something besides the illness that seems to have taken over your life.
- Respite care often gives a caregiver a fresh outlook on things and enable them to come back feeling renewed and with a better attitude.
- Receiving consistant respite care can enable a caregiver to pursue goals and activities that help them feel like a valued individual. This meets a tremendous need within them.
Respite care is also good for the patient, too
They know that you need a break now and then. The last thing they want to feel like is a burden. Besides, there are times when it just isn’t possible for you to be in 2 places at once. Sometimes, something has to give. Thankfully, with temporary respite care, not only can you do what needs to be done, but your loved one can enjoy the company of someone different.
A Post A-Z Additional Note:
While respite care is a wonderful thing–and often essential to preventing caregiver burnout, it isn’t for everyone. While my husband was in in-home hospice I stayed with him. I didn’t leave the house from the time he came home from the hospital until the day after he died, a month later. I don’t know that it was the healthiest way to handle that time, but I don’t regret it. He felt most secure with me there and you couldn’t have dragged me out of our home that month if you tried. I only say this a matter of full disclosure. While blogs, books, friends, and professionals can give you the best advice on matters such as caregiving (or anything else). You are an individual and you have to do what is best for you and your loved ones. That often means taking advantage of respite care, but sometimes it means not doing that.
Once again I will be doing double duty in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be sharing ways to avoid burnout, here at Facing Cancer with Grace. At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways of thinking creatively, using Brainsparker’s Kickstart Course of A to Z prompts. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites.
What is your experience with respite care?
What Are Your Thoughts?
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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker