The following information comes directly from HelpGuide.org.
It is difficult caring for an elderly, chronically ill, or disabled family member in addition to living daily life. It is a demanding job and very few, if anyone, are equipped or trained to do it alone. Respite care provides short-term breaks that can relieve stress, restore energy, and promote balance in your life. Even if working with family members is difficult, there are many other respite care options available to support you and your loved one.
Respite care basics
Seeking support and maintaining your own health are key to managing your role as a caregiver. Using respite care before you become exhausted, isolated, or overwhelmed is ideal, but just anticipating regular relief can become a lifesaver.
Respite care can take many forms, but boils down to two basic ideas: sharing the responsibility for caregiving and getting support for yourself. Finding the right balance requires persistence, patience, and preparation.
Planning your relief
Planning starts with analyzing needs, both yours and your loved ones. Assessing your needs for the type, skills, frequency, and location of respite services is critical to ensure you receive appropriate respite. As a caregiver, is support what you need most? Or is it some regular free time? Or maybe help with transportation? Keep track of your daily activities and then make a list of the areas and times when you most need help.
Identifying your loved one’s requirements, abilities, and preferences will also help you find the right match. Are social activities primary? Do they require assistance with walking, eating or medications? Do they need mental stimulation? Or exercise? Answering these questions will help you determine which respite options to pursue.
Learn more about an organization called Helpguide.org started by Robert and Jeanne Segal. It is a non-profit site dedicated to helping the caregiver.