Caring for an aging loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be emotionally or physically exhausting. Studies have shown that those who act as primary caregivers for family members tend to be at a higher risk for stress-related health conditions such as depression and various chronic diseases. They often neglect their own needs to provide care for others. However, self-care is not a luxury, and instead should be seen as a key component of any plan of care. Regularly scheduled breaks or respites are recommended instead of waiting until the caregiver is on the verge of burnout. This is not unlike the airline announcements about putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others - if you do not make self-care a priority, you may not be able to best care for someone else. That is why most long term care insurance plans cover respite care, which provides benefits for the loved one as well as the caregiver.
What is respite care?
Respite care is a service that provides relief for family caregivers by providing temporary care for their loved ones. Respite care is temporary care, lasting anywhere from an hour to a couple of weeks. It can be a one-time event or a regularly scheduled service. It relieves the family caregiver of their duties, so they can take care of their own needs: some much-needed rest, a chance to recharge their batteries, or take care of a scheduling conflict.