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Why is Respite Care Important for Carers?

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What are the Benefits of Respite Care for Carers?

Carers work incredibly hard to make sure that the person they’re supporting is well looked-after, however that can also then leave them at risk of carer burnout. Caring for others is very rewarding and one that brings many positives to the lives of both the carer and the person being supported, however it can also be very tiring at times as the carer is giving of themselves, both emotionally and physically. There are many options available so that carers get to take a well-earned break, whether for a few hours or a few weeks. Day centres and community activities will often allow a person to be safely supported for a while, so that the carer can get some time to themselves. Respite care can also be delivered on a longer basis in the person’s own home, which means caregivers can take a longer period of time off, perhaps to go on holiday elsewhere. Thanks to respite care from Helping Hands which is delivered in the person’s own home, carers and family members can be reassured that care will continue seamlessly while they take some well-deserved time off.

Reduces Carer Burnout

The NHS tells us that “Respite care means taking a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else. It lets you take time out to look after yourself and helps stop you becoming exhausted and run down.” They recognise the very real existence of carer burnout and the threat it poses to the wellbeing of both the carer and the person being supported. After all, if the carer is exhausted the quality of care being delivered will diminish and the greater the risk that mistakes will happen.

Prevents Isolation

Caring for someone is a wonderful thing to do, but for people who care one-on-one for another person it is possible to become isolated, especially if they are a live in carer. By taking some time away to spend on holiday, visit family or friends, or in the local community, a carer can keep in touch with the outside world and not become segregated from society. It is very easy to become isolated inside the person’s world that you’re caring for, not because they make you, but because it’s natural when you’re focussing entirely on another person’s wellbeing. However, by arranging to see friends or other carers, or taking some time out for yourself such as going to the library or for a swim, you can get the perfect balance of physical and emotional happiness and spend essential time around other people.

Rest and Self-Care

Taking regular time out to rest is vital for any carer, whether they’re a professional, family member, or friend. The mental health charity Mind tells us that “When you spend a lot of your time focusing on someone else, you may feel as if you have no time for yourself. But looking after your own wellbeing is important for you and for them.” Giving your all to someone else can leave you with a deficit of energy which will need to be replaced, and that’s where taking some time for self-care is vital. While professional live-in carers will have rest time built into their shift patterns, family caregivers may not have a structured routine that allows them to take regular time off. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that support is gained from other family members if possible, or if that isn’t an option, professional respite care can be sourced from an outside company.

Helping Hands offers respite care on both a visiting and live-in basis and have more than 30 years of experience delivering exceptional care in our customers’ homes. We could come to your home for a few hours, days or weeks, depending on how long you need us for, or at a regular time each day so that you or your carer gets to rest and have a break.

Maintain Healthy Relationships

By giving so much of yourself to another person on a physical and emotional level, it may mean that your own personal relationships suffer because you have no more energy to give. That’s why taking regular breaks and stepping away from the caregiving situation isn’t just important for the carer themselves, it’s important for the other people in their life too. Taking time out from caring to arrange a night out, going for a walk together, or just sitting at home and enjoying each other’s company can make all the difference when you feel as if you’re ships passing in the night, and remembering to turn your phone off can also help you to detach.

Caring for a loved one will also change the dynamic of your relationship with them, which can make things more difficult for both of you. You may feel resentful that you’re now caring for a loved one, or upset that your relationship is different, but not know how to express those feelings or where to turn for help. Mind suggests that you “consider yourself as their friend, partner or family member first and foremost,” while talking to each other about how much your relationship means to you and working out the best way to preserve the most positive parts. They also suggest finding or rediscovering hobbies and interests that you both love so that they can be enjoyed alongside practical care responsibilities. In addition, encouraging the person you’re caring for to be as independent as possible will not only improve their mental health and help them to feel more in control of their own life, but will reduce the amount you have to do for them. This could make you both feel less resentful and angry, improving your relationship and giving you more time to spend on enjoyable pursuits instead.

Why is Respite Care Important for Carers?

Taking a break from work is something we all need to do at times, so that we don’t get mentally and physically exhausted. Carers tend to give so much of themselves in their roles that they are particularly vulnerable to ‘burning out’, which then has a detrimental effect on every other aspect of their lives. Knowing how to seek help when you feel you need it is paramount, and you can find some excellent advice online for caregivers who feel they need additional support. These include the Carers UK helpline, on 0808 808 7777 or email at The Samaritans are also always available for anyone who is struggling and doesn’t know where to turn, on 116 123 or There may also be care that the local authority can provide to ensure that you get a regular break, and by asking for a needs assessment it can be determined whether they will provide it free of charge or it will have to be paid for privately.

Talking to Helping Hands about our exceptional standards of care at home will also be a positive step to discovering how you can get more of a balance in your life. Give our friendly customer care team a call or request a call back and we’ll make sure you get answers for all of your questions.