Respite Care – Respite for the carer

As Australia’s population ages, our health and aged care services will face rising demands and rising cost. As a result of this trend, Australia is moving to a more sustainable user pay system for health and aged care.

Another trend happening in aged care is the preference for people to remain longer at home, deferring the decision to place their loved one into a residential facility.

Decisions and choice

So as people age, they and their supporting families will be faced with a number of important decisions on how they choose to support their ageing parents or partner during the twilight years.

Until recently the choice was pretty simple – place mum, dad or lifetime partner into a residential facility when they could no longer maintain their independence at home.

However, the preferred choice of people and their supporting families is to have their loved one remain living in the familiar surroundings of their family home.

This decision often means that the partner now assumes the role of main carer, devoting their time caring for their partner at home.

Impact on carer

The impact of being a devoted carer is rewarding, requiring devotion that is time consuming, with the focus of attention being on the loved one receiving the care. Often this dedication to the loved one means the carer is on call round the clock, seven days per week, and fifty-two weeks per year. And this labour of love can continue for many years.

Improving the life of a partner is admirable, but also important is that the carer set aside some “me time” to preserve their own health and abilities.

Respite care

This is where respite care comes in. Respite care allows the carer to spend some time out of the home. It may be a short break for a couple of hours, perhaps a longer term break that may involve a holiday.

During the period of respite care your loved one will be taken care of by a another family member, friend or a professional provider of respite care. The purpose is to take over the main carer’s role during the period of respite care.

The break offered to carers through respite care allows them the chance to recharge their batteries; it will rejuvenate their spirit and allow them to continue in their vital caring role.

Respite care gives the carer the opportunity to take care of themselves. It is a selfless task as it provides benefits to both the carer, and also their loved one.

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