Why Don’t More Families Take Advantage of Respite Care?


Baby boomers are aging and it won’t be long before a whole new generation of families are taking care of their elderly relatives. Some seniors will end up in long-term care facilities, but many families will choose to care for their loved ones at home.

As a caregiver, taking care of your loved one can mean putting in countless hours of unpaid work, which often results in feeling fatigued. Although the caregiver may need a break, many still do not take advantage of respite care. Respite care, part-time care, including adult day care, can significantly ease the stress of caregivers, especially in the summer vacation months, by helping caregivers receive the break they need while continuing to provide the quality care their loved ones deserve.

So, what is keeping families from participating in programs designed to help them love and care for aging adults? The answer is: lack of awareness, misplaced guilt or hesitation about expenses. Below are a few reasons debunking these common fears, explaining why you should pursue respite care for your loved one.

• Lack of Awareness

Unfortunately, many caregivers who need help don’t know that help is available to them because they don’t know that these types of programs exist, but this is no longer the case. Caregivers are so focused on making everything work that they don’t always take the time to seek out new options. Because of this, families may become stressed if they do not give themselves an opportunity to relax. Families can take advantage of a quality respite care program because not only will their loved one be cared for, but families will be able to take the time they need to tend to their own responsibilities and enjoyment.

• Misplaced Guilt

Being a family member and caregiver can be a very challenging job, so sometimes it is best to leave it to the professionals, where they can give quality care and attention to your loved one. Caregivers are notorious for putting everyone’s needs before their own, but occasionally a caregiver will feel guilty about taking a break or spending some time to refill their own energy reserves.  Addressing guilt head-on will help to convince caregivers that taking the time they need to de-stress and unwind, which will help them give more compassionate care in the long-run.

• Expenses

Caring for an aging relative may put a strain on an already tight budget. Many families won’t look into assistive programs because they think that they can’t afford the help. However, there are many programs designed to help ease that financial burden for families, including insurance reimbursement, Medicare benefits and even grants. Many adult day cares offer affordable options for working families. 

Respite care can help out a great deal of families by giving them a break and taking care of their loved one during the day, night or over a vacation. It is even a good first step towards finding a community for the future, if that is in your plans.