Essential advice for families about how to take time out.
Caring for someone you love is a noble task – and it can take a lot out of you. Whether you’re supporting your child, partner, elderly relative, or someone with a disability or injury, even helpers need help sometimes...
WHY: The word ‘respite’ is defined as a short period of rest or relief, and respite care gives carers just that. Think of it as time for you to care for yourself. Energy and patience are not infinite resources, but making time to recharge your batteries can sometimes seem impossible. That’s where respite care is invaluable, giving you short breaks to help you avoid burnout and maintain your social connections.
And it’s not all about you! For the person you care for, respite can provide a chance to maintain or regain their independence. It may help to improve a young person’s self-esteem, or alleviate a partner’s guilt over all you do for them. It may bring something to look forward to, new friends or a welcome change of scene. Or it may simply make life more interesting.
WHAT: Respite comes in all shapes and sizes – but it all requires planning. Would you benefit from an hour or two ‘off’ a week, or a longer break away from or at home? Is there an upcoming event you’d like to go to? When would be a good time for you to take a holiday? What are the barriers to you taking time out and what support do you need to change that?
WHERE: You could organise a respite stay for your loved one at the home of a family member, a host family or another carer; respite care at a dedicated facility; or someone to come to your home. For kids and teens, respite could take the form of a school holiday programme, and some rest homes, community groups and churches run day programmes for older adults. Involve the person you care for in the decision and find out what they’d prefer.
WHO: If you’re not enlisting the support of a facility or programme, you might have a family member, friend or neighbour who can step in to help you take a breather. Or you could hire a carer for at-home respite through Mycare. It’s free to create a job listing and search the available carers in your community – plus it cuts out a lot of paperwork.
HOW: You may qualify for government funding; your first step to finding out is having a needs assessment. This can be organised by you, your GP or the hospital by contacting the nearest NASC provider. If you’re caring for an injured person, you’ll need to discuss your needs with your ACC case worker, who can help arrange it for you.
The Ministry of Health offers respite services to carers, family and whānau whose primary role involves the care and support of a disabled family member, and you can find a worker through Mycare. We provide the National Relief Care Matching Service in conjunction with Carers NZ, so if you’re a family carer and receive the Carer Support Subsidy or other funding for respite, you can use our service to find a respite carer free of charge. You can pay your worker your usual way, or do it through Mycare.
WHEN: It’s crucial to organise regular respite care before you start to feel overwhelmed. Remember, respite isn’t ‘selfish’ – it’s essential for your own physical and mental health. Mycare has a nationwide network of workers in the community who are available now. Click here to get started.
To find out more or have us talk you through it, call our Customer Success Team on 0800 677 700, or email [email protected].
You’ll find more information about respite here.