It is well known that in many developed countries in the World there is an increasing number of people living longer. As modern science enables us to live longer there are a lot of people living with long term health conditions; this puts a burden on families that often have to help elderly relatives.
In the UK in 20 years time the number of people over the age of 65 is going to increase by 5 1/2 million in the UK, and by 2050 this number will have almost doubled. In the USA the projection for 2015 for over 65’s is 54 million increasing to 89 million by 2035 and 102 million by 2050.
There is a significant strain on Health and Social Care services, leading to more and more relatives making the decision to care for loved ones. Caring for a loved one can be extremely rewarding, but it can be hard work, and this can lead to you feeling exhausted and with little time to do things for yourself. It has been proven that people caring for loved ones put themselves at high risk of health problems.
What is respite care?
Respite care gives relief to a caregiver by putting in place short term replacement care, temporarily relieving the caregiver of their responsibilities. This can provide both the individual and their family with a number of benefits. For example respite care can prevent individual’s from having to go into nursing homes, as they will be provided with the help and support that they need at home. It can also be beneficial for caregivers as it will give them the opportunity to have a well deserved break, giving them the time to do things they enjoy.
Types of respite care
In- home respite is an extremely popular choice for respite care. A care worker visits an individual’s home and provides them with care and support. This can be done on a one off basis or arranged as a regular visit, this can allow the caregiver to attend regular events on a weekly basis or to go on day trips. This can also be offered as live in support for up to a few weeks. This provides many benefits as it provides support in the event that the caregiver needs to take some time away. For example they may want to go on holiday or need medical treatment themselves.
Where the caregiver would prefer to stay at home but not have the cared for person at home; then respite can be arranged in a Nursing or Residential home. In some areas there are specialised facilities for respite where there is access to emergency facilities and assistance where required. There are also organisations that put in place emergency respite at short notice, ensuring that someone is there to provide the individual with support in unforeseen situations such as the caregiver going into hospital themselves. Therapeutic adult day care provides respite care mainly during business hours, five days a week, however in some instances care can also be provided 24 hours a day with this type of care.
How respite care can help
All types of respite can provide many benefits for individual’s and their caregivers, as it provides both with the opportunity to have a break from what can otherwise be a stressful situation. This is beneficial as is relieves some of the pressure for the caregiver, meaning they are less likely to get frustrated and exhausted. Respite care can also be beneficial for the individual because it provides them with the opportunity to have social interactions with those who are not their primary caregiver, and this in turn can boost an individual’s confidence and self-esteem.
Respite care can be used in situations where caregiver’s are relatives or friends. This can be particularly beneficial in individual is suffering from conditions such as Dementia, as caregivers will become increasingly tired and this can make it difficult to provide sufficient care for the individual. It is important for caregivers to have regular breaks to prevent them becoming overwhelmed, and it also ensures that the individual is receiving the help and support they need.
Local Council Respite Care in the UK
In the UK some local authorities are giving non-means tested respite care vouchers. In Hampshire in the UK, where our business is, the Hampshire County Council supply Take a Break vouchers for respite care. We would encourage people in the UK to contact their local county Adult Services department to see what is on offer for them.