Michele's Blog

Respite Care - The Snorkel Approach

By Michele Scott

“Caregivers “snorkel” through ongoing tasks. They survive the challenges. They are submerged in a world of care for others. The “snorkel” approach keeps the caregiver alive. But not afloat. The snorkel allows the caregiver to breathe. It does not allow the caregiver to thrive.” Providing mental, physical and emotional support to a child or adult; in their home or in the home of a loved one falls within the framework of caregiving. Engulfed in a 24/7 emotional attachment, settling-in and acceding to every whim creates objective stressors in the patient and in the caregiver. Toileting and bathing a father, inserting a catheter into a mother or caring for an adult child diagnosed with vascular dementia can be unsettling. The strain, anxiety, and stress of the caregiver, coupled with the awkwardness, discomfort and embarrassment of the patient can lead to mental stress and crippling vulnerabilities.

 Respite Care is planned or emergency [temporary] care provided to caregivers – a short period or interval of rest or relief. A chance to get away for a month, a week or just a few days; for a family event, a class, a concert, a cruise, or a much needed weekend with family and friends. You’ve become your parent’s caregiver.  You’re meeting their personal, medical, social and emotional needs while doing laundry, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, changing beds, cooking meals, running errands, and keeping track of doctor appointments - which seem to pop-up at the most inconvenient times. What about you, the caregiver?  In 2015, researchers reported, “thirty-five percent of caregivers find it difficult to make time for themselves, while 29% have trouble managing stress, and another 29% report difficulty balancing work and family.” Cognitive deficiencies, behavioral disorders and physical frailties in a patient have been linked to anger, isolation, exhaustion and disabilities in the caregiver.

Advocating for a loved one impacts routines, schedules, relationships and finances. It often requires leaving a much loved job, missing a child’s ball game or a long awaited recital. Financial obligations reach into savings and college funds; extra-curricular activities are abandoned, field trips cancelled, vacations and holidays postponed. Stepping into the role of caregiver is an honorable move yet failure to accept the realities of this major life change can be heartbreaking.

 Home Helpers provides education, inspiration, guidance and respite for today’s patient and caregiver. Let us help you choose the option which meets you and your patient’s specific needs. Long-term, hospice, elderly and senior care is available in your home, in the home of a parent or grandparent, in an assisted living or nursing home environment. Family members are expected to contribute to patient care in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and interim care facilities. We can help.

 Respite Care is for the caregiver and for the patient. Give yourself, your family and your loved one a break from what has become a part of daily life. You’re not alone. Call us.