Respite Across the Lifespan - Getting A Deserved Break from Caregiving

Respite Care Assistant What is a caregiver? Caregivers provide assistance to one or more family members or friends who have some sort of limitation in their daily living. Many caregivers are happy to be able to help their loved one and maintain their role as care givers for many years. However, one of the difficulties of providing care to a loved one is that often caregivers provide this care while giving up other aspects of their life. One way to help reduce the stress of caregiving and help a person maintain a healthy lifestyle is by getting a break.

Respite is a means for caregivers to take that break. Strictly speaking, respite is a temporary relief of all aspects of caregiving.


Pronounced “ress-pit,” respite is an occasional break that is given to a person who provides care to someone they love.

Let’s face it, being a caregiver can be a lot of work. And, sometimes that work can go on for months or years. In order to equip a caregiver to continue their work over a long period of time, it is essential that they get a regular break.

These breaks can be short or long. It might just be a few hours so the caregiver can go shopping, visit friends, or see a movie. It might be a day or two, so the caregiver can tend to personal business or get away for a weekend. Or, it might be a week or two, so that the caregiver can take a vacation and “recharge their batteries.”

Respite services are funded by a wide variety of sources. Eligibility usually depends upon the age, income and disability of the care recipient. This website can help you to find a source of respite funding!

The actual respite care might be provided by another member of the family, a friend, or a trained professional caregiver.

Honestly, EVERY person providing ongoing care to a loved one needs a break—how often those breaks occur, and how long they last, depends on each person’s situation.

Studies have shown big benefits from even an hour of respite care each week. Benefits include: less anxiety, lower blood pressure and overall improvement in caregiver well being. Care giving is hard work, and anyone who is working hard needs a break.

Are you providing care and assistance to someone who needs your help? Do you find the care tasks prevent you from doing things you want or need to do for yourself? Is it getting harder to maintain your social and family relationships because of the care you provide? These are all normal feelings for caregivers, but the good news is… help is available!


For more information and resources on respite and caregiver relief, click here.

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