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It's Ok to Want Time Off From Caregiving

Written by Michele Houck
May 01, 2023
It's Ok to Want Time Off From Caregiving
Respite care is an essential service that allows caregivers to take a break and recharge their batteries. Whether for a few hours, days, or weeks, respite care for caregivers must be part of a care plan.

Caregiving is often a round-the-clock gig, especially when caring for someone who is disabled or critically ill.

You must take time for yourself, and your life. That 'time off' from being on-duty primary caregiving is called respite.

Why respite or caregiving time off?

Caregiving takes a lot of energy, optimism, and compassion, but that is in a variety of supply. Respite is time off for YOU to do what you want or need to do. Unfortunately, scheduling reliable backup is a challenge for many family caregivers.

Respite care can be for an afternoon, a day, a week, or a month.

An at-home respite caregiver enjoying a cup of tea with an elderly woman outside. Respite time is good for everyone.

How can I find respite caregivers?

There are three primary ways that most caregivers find and arrange respite care, but there are two significant distinctions. A main consideration is location: will respite care be at home or in a community facility?

Friends and relatives

First, ask friends or relatives to help if they have the necessary skills and time to step in. If you have the proverbial "village" of family, this is a good option if everyone gets along with the person who needs care.

A benefit is that the person needing care can stay home where they are likely most comfortable and spend time with someone familiar.

Caregiver marketplaces

Second, there are online professional marketplaces like that have local senior care, special needs care, and housekeeper resumes for you to peruse. Think of this as a job board like Indeed and Craigslist; employers (you) looking for caregivers post their skills, continue at, and search a list of local care providers.

We recommend for its localization, breadth of skills available, caregiver profiles, and bench strength. Schedule help as and when needed, whether it’s a few hours each week to cover last-minute conflicts or plan some away time.

Caregivers choose this type of respite care support for help after recovery after illness, hospitalization, or complex medical conditions requiring attention to detail. At-home caregivers can also learn from these "pros.

We've found that these professionals often have more than one skill that helps care for someone. For example, when you hire a special needs caregiver or a senior care aide, they may also do light housekeeping or meal prep.

The dual benefit is that the person who needs care remains in their home and gets to socialize with someone outside the family group.

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Finding the right care for your family can be challenging especially while balancing the daily demands of caregiving.

Respite care at a senior care facility

A community or facility is a good option if more extensive skills or care is needed for a more extended period. Respite care facilities are a solution for families needing a break or help with caregiving but not ready for long-term institutional care.

A 24-hour care community ensures that the person needing care has attention, oversight, and supervision in a professional, safe environment.

The main benefits here are skilled 24-hour care by more than one professional and a community of people. Some choose the care communities they are "trying out" for possible long-term care to see if it fits their needs and hopes.

It's about you and them.

Whether you need residential in-home respite care or someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one more permanently, another great benefit of hiring out for respite care is expanding the care "village."

Respite is a way to support family caregivers caring for their loved ones at home. You can choose from many respite care venues, including at-home with another caregiver, adult medical day programs, and approved respite facilities.

With a tip of the hat to the great Aretha Franklin, we borrow the chorus lyrics for "Respect." We hope it inspires you caregivers to take some time for yourself.

R-E-S-P-I-T-E Find out what it means to me R-E-S-P-I-T-E Take care, TCB

Other resources

If you want additional respite planning resources, you can visit the National Respite Locator Service, a U.S. Administration on Aging public service that helps locate services related to eldercare, including paid respite care.

While respite can help relieve caregiver stress, if your family member’s needs have surpassed what you can handle, you need more support than respite care can provide.

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The information provided on this Web site has been presented in summary form only and is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is intended to be informational and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

About the author: Michele Houck is a CircleOf employee. She started her unpaid family caregiving roles at the young age of 16 with her mother's first breast cancer diagnosis. Over the recent five years, she's been the primary caregiver for her mother, her sister, her special needs sister AND her father all who passed due to different cancers. I take my role in helping family caregivers sympathetically, sacredly and seriously.

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