Respite care

Respite care is very much about the health and wellbeing of the carer. If, as a carer you’re basically fit and well you’ll still need a break from time to time. It’s possible of course that you might be taken ill, or admitted to hospital, which is another reason for needing respite care. Or there may be some important family commitment that you can’t ignore. And sometimes there are just those errands and jobs that have to be done. Respite care can help you.

There are benefits for the person suffering from dementia as well. It’s a chance to interact with other people experiencing similar conditions and symptoms, and an opportunity to take part in some shared activities.

You can organise respite care at home with the help of friends, relatives and neighbours. Or you can make arrangements through home care agencies. In some areas your local authority can help.

There are some important factors to consider. For instance, take time to investigate all of the possible costs - not all respite care services will be free of charge.

Also, if you need to arrange respite care away from the person’s home, it’s worth going to check out the centre or care home first. Make sure that the surroundings are suitable, and that the staff have experience of caring for people with dementia.

A note of warning. Being away from their normal environment can confuse some people with dementia. It probably won’t last, but be prepared for the possibility of them being unsettled for a while when they come home.

Respite care does need advance planning. But it’s worth it. As much as you’ve committed to the role of carer there are aspects of your own well being that you must not ignore, and events in your life that once in a while have to come first.

And don’t feel guilty.