Respite I

Last week I spoke
with a woman
who’s the main caregiver
for her husband.
A serious brain injury
now prevents him
from working, driving, walking very far,
even from being alone for very long.
Her daily life has changed radically
since he was hurt eight years ago.
I asked her how she kept going.
“Respite care,” she replied.
“I take him to an adult day care center
three days a week.
I’m able to work part-time,
plus have a little time to myself.
Having this new-found freedom,
while knowing he’s cared for and safe,
has made all the difference.
My spirits have really lifted.
I’m a better caregiver for this, too.”

Respite has several dictionary definitions.
Among the oldest is this: “to relieve
by a pause or interval of rest.”
A caregiver respite is a temporary relief
from the responsibilities related to the one
who’s in daily care.
Allowing for such help when it’s offered
and arranging for it when it’s needed
are invaluable aids to healthy caregiving.
A break from caregiving refreshes.
It can provide a needed perspective.
It helps one become more grounded,
more steady, more stable.
It protects one’s individuality
and preserves one’s sense of independence.
Clearly, respite is not a caregiver luxury.
It’s a caregiver necessity.

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2 Responses to “Respite I”

  1. Susan Says:

    Dear Jim, Finally I’m ahead of you on something! My 92 year old charge started a wonderful adult day program last week. It just came to me that there might be something out there for her and her doctor told me about this at our local senior center. Her family agreed and the people there just love her. It’s well worth the expense. Take care, Susan

  2. Susan Says:

    Dear Jim, I just wanted to say again how much God has blessed me with your lovely blog. Thanks to finding you one late and desperate night when I was “burnt out”, I now have a wonderful prayer area, and a much better perspective on things. I thank Him for leading me to you. Sincerely, Susan

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