The benefits of respite care

For many families who spend time looking after loved ones, respite care can provide a valuable opportunity to take a break, catch up with work or take some time to themselves. However, over many years of working closely with families who are full-time caregivers, we’ve found that many find accessing respite care a difficult decision that can be riddled with guilt and uncertainty. Our manager, Egle Marozaite, shares her views on why respite can be a wonderful thing for both families and residents alike.

What is respite care?

The term Respite care usually refers to a short-term stay in a care home. While this could be to cover an emergency situation or to offer additional care and support following an operation, it is usually pre-arranged to offer a carer a break from full-time care duties. 

For people in a caring role, respite care offers time to rest and recuperate, make time for work and family, take a holiday or take care of other responsibilities. For those being cared for, respite can be an incredibly positive experience, giving them an opportunity to make friends, enjoy a change of scenery and get involved in new activities. 

Respite care: Benefits for residents

New surroundings: The old saying “a change is as good as a rest” definitely rings true for respite care. In fact, a recent study from the Psychology department at New York University showed that a small change of scenery or routine can improve your mood. Just as going on holiday and taking a break from the routine of everyday life can help us to feel relaxed, so can taking a break at a care home like Norwood Grange. Think of us as a welcoming hotel, where we really care for our residents and their wellbeing.

Social interaction: Many people who require full-time care do so because they struggle to get out and about. That can often mean seeing the same faces on a regular basis. However lovely those faces are, the reality of being cared for can mean limited opportunities for social interaction. By taking advantage of respite care, people have the opportunity to develop a relationship with someone new, chat about something different, share life experiences over a cup of tea and limit the chances of social isolation. 

An active lifestyle: Respite offers people the opportunity to get involved in new and meaningful activities - from sharing a puzzle or showing off your dominoes or scrabble prowess to someone new, or getting involved in something you’ve never done before. At Norwood Grange, we offer varied group and individual activities which are both mentally and physically stimulating, increasing feelings of happiness, wellbeing and self-worth.

A taste of full-time care: For many people, making the decision to move from their own home into a care home can be a tough one. Experiencing an enjoyable respite break can make all the difference by giving people a taste of what life in a care home is like - from the food and activities to the rooms and standard of care

A fresh perspective: There’s lots of focus on wellbeing these days, with an increasing awareness that self-care needs to come first. Taking a break can result in the carer being more focused and less stressed, meaning a better standard of care, less pressurised relationships and new things to chat about when reunited! 

Respite care: Benefits for carers

A well-earned rest: No matter how much we love someone and want to support them, caring for someone full time can have its challenges. Taking advantage of respite care can give careers an opportunity to take a holiday or simply catch up on some sleep!

A new outlook and renewed energy: Catering to someone’s needs is not easy. In fact, studies show that those people who act as primary caregivers for family members tend to be at a higher risk for stress-related health conditions such as depression and other chronic illnesses. Taking time out can allow carers to regroup and refresh themselves, ready to pick up the role of carer with a fresh perspective. 

Maintaining relationships: Carers can easily become socially isolated too. Respite care can be an ideal opportunity for carers to maintain and restore their relationships with their partner and children, see friends or enjoy some hobbies. 

Life admin: It’s a funny expression, but it sums it up well. Whether you need time to deal with work stuff, get a hair cut or visit the dentist, respite care gives carers the time to catch up on the things that there is never usually time for. 

Respite care: Broaching the subject

Having that initial conversation about respite care is often the most difficult step. With so many benefits for both parties, there’s very little to lose! Here are my top tips for broaching the subject: 

Bring up the conversation lightly and casually the first time. Don’t go into too much detail, then allow the subject to pass before bringing it up again. Having lots of smaller conversations may make it feel like less of a “big decision” than sitting down for an in-depth family meeting! 

Highlight the benefits. At worst, it is a few days away, in an unfamiliar environment, with kind people doing their utmost to meet your needs and make you feel welcome. At best, it’s akin to a great holiday - nice company, good food, comfortable surroundings and an opportunity to take part in fun activities. 

Ask about their concerns. Listen. Take it on board. Work with them to find a solution. 

Do some digging! All care homes are regulated by the CQC and most have a number of reviews on - which means you can get access to honest reviews from real people. 

After reading this article, we hope you’ll agree that respite care has loads of positives for everyone involved, If you’d like to chat more about what we offer here at Norwood Grange, please get in touch. Whether you need short or longer-term respite care, long-term residential or specialist dementia care, our friendly team is happy to help. 

Are you looking for respite care? Find out more here.

For further information or to arrange a personal guided tour please call us on 0114 243 1039 or select from one of the options below.