The Importance of Respite Care for Caregivers


In 2012, 2.7 million Australians acted as caregivers and of these, 783,000 were primary carers. In addition, 83% of these primary caregivers lived in the same household as the person in their care.

A primary carer is someone who provides informal help to a person who needs assistance with their mobility, personal care and daily living activities. This assistance can be a full time job with nearly 40% of caregivers spending at least 40 hours each week helping the person in their care.

Respite care for caregivers

Research has shown that the role of carer can be extremely stressful, resulting in long term relationship and work problems for the person providing the care. In fact, caregiving is now considered a public health issue, due to the negative physical and psychological effects on the caregiver.

Clearly, there is a great need for respite care and for assisted living facilities in Australia. With respite care, the person requiring assistance spends time in a facility or nursing home temporarily, usually for a week or more, to give the carer relief from their duties.

On the other hand, assisted living facilities offer permanent residence to a person who requires help with their day to day living activities, but is not yet ready for nursing care.

The problem is that many carers feel guilty taking time off, particularly when their loved one has to spend time in a care facility, to provide relief for themselves. Another reason that respite care is not utilised by carers is because the person being cared for becomes upset and refuses to go into temporary care.

Benefits of respite care for caregivers

The costs to carers in providing full time assistance to a loved one can be very high. Research has shown that when compared to people not proving care for a loved one, carers have higher rates of anxiety and depression, greater stress and lower levels of satisfaction with their life.

Carers can become very isolated and whilst respite care only gives temporary relief, it gives the carer a much needed rest from the constant responsibilities of their life. It also provides the person requiring care different surroundings and a way to meet new people in a caring environment.

It is important that carers take a break and relax every now and again, as this will enhance their own relationships, their time with their loved one and make them a better carer.

Benefits of assisted living

At some point, it becomes obligatory for caregivers to consider assisted living options, to allow themselves to have their own lives back and to improve their health and wellbeing.

An assisted living facility is a good choice for people who need extra help with their daily living activities, but who do not require 24 hour nursing care. These facilities however, do offer 24 hour security, as well as additional support if needed. Call buttons are situated in easy to access locations in their apartment, so help is only a phone call away at all times.

The other great benefit of an assisted care facility is that some also provide 24 hour nursing care. So in the future, if your loved one requires this level of care, the transition can be made smoothly within the same facility. This removes the stress and discomfort that requiring full time nursing care can often instil in some elderly people.

If you would like more information on respite care and assisted living, feel free to call Palm Lake Care on 1800 246 677 or visit our website.