Helpful Things for Respite Providers to Know
It is important for caregivers to take care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes, taking a short break of a few hours to get things done away from the house, a weekend getaway, or a vacation can mean the difference between being able to continue to provide care for your loved one in the home and having to find care in a facility.
Who will care for Mom/Dad, or other family member or friend? Many times, it is difficult to find a person to step in to help give the caregiver a break. Reasons may include not having a family member close by, estranged relationships, medical issues perceived as being too difficult to deal with, or just being afraid that the person providing relief for the primary caregiver won't be able to relate to the care recipient.
Who will the respite care provider be? Maybe it's a sibling or other close family member. We may think, "Of course he/she knows Mom/Dad because they spent lots of time together in the past?" Not so fast! "In the past" is a key phrase.
Times change, people and their needs change, situations and preferences change. Sometimes there is slow decline in the loved one's health; sometimes there is a rapid progression of symptoms or ability to function. Does the relief caregiver have current knowledge of the care recipient's personal needs, preferences, and functioning level?
In addition to an obvious "emergency contact" list, list of medications, health care providers contact information, insurance information, etc. it is helpful to have an "About Me" information sheet.
What are important things for a relief caregiver/respite care provider to know? Here is a list of things that may be very obvious to a person providing daily care and assistance, but may be outdated or totally unknown for a respite care provider. Please add to this partial list to fit your own circumstances.
Make a list of your care recipient's: likes, dislikes, food preferences, general preferences, favorites, friends, friends who can visit, family members, family members who can visit, clothing preferences, assistance needs, dietary needs, dietary preferences, fears, assistive devices, vulnerabilities, skills,
mobility status, communication ability level, safety monitoring needs, toileting needs, likelihood of falls, prone to wander, pet peeves, and other pertinent information.
Add to your list as things come to mind, or as the need arises, and keep it as up to date as possible. If a sudden emergency should occur for you, the primary caregiver, or you just need a break, being prepared makes a big difference in the quality of life and comfort of your care recipient.