Giving Yourself a Break - Caregiving in the Summer

By Maggie Cunningham

Summer brings excitement as the days become longer, the sun shines brighter and the weather warmer. As a caregiver, you know that in summer months, loved ones may need to spend more time indoors to stay out of the heat. You may feel obligated to stay inside and keep them company, missing out on the sunshine yourself. 

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Putting your own life and desires aside can make you feel physically and mentally isolated, but you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans take care of family members with disabilities or chronic illnesses at home, which is why respite care has become a more popular option that allows caregivers a much deserved break for a few days or even weeks. 

While you and your family take great pride in caring for loved ones at home, you can have peace of mind knowing your family member is being cared for around the clock by a dedicated staff of medical professionals when they receive respite care at home or in a home-like setting at a nursing and rehabilitation center. 

Respite care offers your family many benefits: 

  • a break for caregivers—surveys have found that caregivers are more likely to experience health issues, chronic conditions or disabilities than non-caregivers 
  • assistance when your loved one has trouble with sleeping, hydration, nutrition, weight management or toileting
  • care plans coordinated with existing treatments
  • family education to help care for your loved one at home 

While receiving temporary respite care in a nursing or rehabilitation center, your loved one can participate in social and recreational activities while they receive assistance completing their normal daily activities. Other services provided include: 

  • medication administration 
  • a daily exercise program as determined by the medical team 
  • physical, occupation or speech therapy as needed 
  • balanced, therapeutic meals, snacks and diet education 

If you are not fully comfortable with the idea of respite care, ease into it. You can begin to research respite care options in your area and ask important questions until you have received answers you are satisfied with. 

No matter what activities you enjoy, no matter what time of year it is, it is important to take care of yourself so you take the best care of your loved one. If you have questions about respite care, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Maggie Cunningham