By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Respite Care for Burnout Prevention

Respite Care

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 to Z Blogging ChallengeThe A to Z Blogging Challenge

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?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

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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 book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on

Also, check out Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer.

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I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker

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11 comments on “Respite Care for Burnout Prevention

I think it’s very important to ask for help, and some associations are dedicated to help those who need it. It’s necessary for everybody, the caregiver, and the person who needs help from the caregiver.
Continuing my tour from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip.
AtoZChallenge Road Trip: X & + post


Hi Fredrique. You are so right. It’s essential to get help whenever you can. It can be difficult to accept this, though.

I am participating in the A to Z Road Trip. I think respite care is great. When my wife had cancer we didn’t need much respite as she only had radiation and not chemo. Our family has provided respite services for families with kids for special needs. This has never really felt like service as we got to spend time with super kids while other family members got much needed break. I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks you for writing so candidly about it.
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Hi Dave. Thank you so much for stopping by. It is a wonderful gift to offer respite care, for the carer, and the family who needs respite. It’s a special gift for all involved. I hope that your wife is doing well.

Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip! I did not come across your blog during the challenge so I am looking forward to reading some of your other posts.


Thank you Notesinabook. If you know anyone facing cancer, I’d love it if you would share my blog with them. Have a wonderful week!

This is so informative. Caregivers too need a respite. Stopping by from #A2ZChallenge Road Trip.


Hi Ruchi. Yes, they do. But it is often hard to know where to turn, or to even ask for respite. Have a wonderful day!

Great tips. This is so informative. I love it. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Thank you, Amor. Have a wonderful week!

You make an excellent point about how respite care can help a caregiver recharge their batteries and allow them to come back to taking care of someone with a better attitude. My parents are looking to find a reputable professional to help take care of my grandmother. She has extreme dementia and needs to have constant care to keep her safe.

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