Taking the respite time that you need as a caregiver is not negotiable, even though many caregivers treat it as if it were. What you need is a plan that helps you to take respite time when you need it most.
Figure Out What Exactly You Need Right Now
What kind of respite time do you need? You might need some time just for yourself, time to run errands or time to go to your own doctor. Sometimes understanding those differences can help you to get the coverage that you need for the time that you’re away. One trap you don’t want to fall into, however, is the one where you feel you have to justify taking time away. Breaks are incredibly helpful to caregivers, and you should never feel guilty for just needing time for you.
Determine Who Can Fill in for You
What you need can be instrumental in helping you to determine who can fill in for you, that’s why you need to start there. A friend or family member might be able to spare half an hour for you to run an essential errand on your own, but what if you need more time than that? Often family members are understandably nervous about being “in charge” for longer periods of time, especially if your senior has very specific needs. Senior care providers can be the perfect answer. They can help your elderly family member with whatever needs to be done and you can relax while you’re away.
Make Sure Your Backup Is Prepared
No matter who is stepping in or how long you’ll be gone, it helps to give your backup a blueprint to follow. Put together a general information packet or binder that anyone could refer to if you’re gone. Depending on how long you’ll be away each time, you might need to include additional information that pertains to that specific situation, too.
You Don’t Have to Wait for Permission to Take Time Away
It’s really common for caregivers to feel as if they need to have everything “right” or they need permission in order to step away for a little while. If you stick with this line of thinking, you’re never going to take time away because you will never get the permission you feel you need. Once you put a plan in place to take time away and to have coverage while you’re gone, follow through with that plan.
Taking time for you when you need it, no matter why you need it is crucial. You’re a caregiver, but you’re also a person with a full life beyond caregiving. Take the respite time that you need.