When you care for a relative, it can be immensely rewarding, but it can also be physically and emotionally draining. Respite care is a temporary care arrangement that gives unpaid careers, such as family members, a much-needed break. Professional carers can either visit your relative in their own home several times a day to provide care and support, or your relative can go into a residential respite facility to receive the care they need. Residential respite care services allow your relative to have access to a team of care and support staff, which may include medical staff. Some facilities also have onsite complementary services available, such as hairdressing, and offer a range of social and leisure activities.
Naturally, making the decision to access residential respite care can be difficult, and you may find your relative is quite reluctant for a number of reasons, including fear of the unknown and a strong need to maintain their routine. However, once you have made your decision and selected your care provider, there are a number of ways you can help your relative settle into residential respite care. Here are a few tips for you to consider.
Visit Before Their Stay
Your relative may benefit from visiting your chosen respite care facility before their stay. This will remove some of the fear of the unknown that may be causing them to worry and they may even see some things they will enjoy during their stay. Most respite providers are happy to show future residents around and let them see the rooms, dining area, and gardens. There will also be the opportunity to meet some of the staff.
Communicate With The Staff
When a person depends on others to meet some or all of their personal care needs, routine tends to be very important to them. If this is the case with your relative, meet with the care staff before their stay and ensure they understand what's important to your relative and what they like and dislike. For example, if you always turn on their favourite TV show after dinner, ask care staff to continue doing this during their stay.
Take Some Home Comforts
Try to make respite care like a home away from home for your relative. This will provide some comfort and security for them. If they have a favourite blanket or cup, take them along. If your relative loves houseplants, take a couple for their room. You may also want to pack some of their favourite snacks and DVDs for them to enjoy, which may help them to see that respite can also be a nice, relaxing time for them, too.
Worrying about your relative while they are in respite care is quite normal, but you should be able to have a break when you feel you need or want one. So, put your own mind at rest by discussing any concerns you have with your chosen provider ahead of time and ensure you are happy with your relative's care plan before respite care begins.