There are sixty-five million Americans who care for an elderly or disabled loved one, a role that can be extraordinarily taxing, both physically and emotionally. Family caregivers often find themselves “teetering by a thread.” They report higher levels of stress, physical strain and poorer health than non-caregivers. Fortunately, relief is available in the form of respite care.

Respite care is short-term care provided by senior communities, homecare agencies and adult daycares. It allows family caregivers to rest or attend to other responsibilities without worrying about their loved one’s wellbeing. Respite care can last from just a few hours up to a few weeks. It can be used as an opportunity for family caregivers to run errands, travel or just enjoy a well-deserved night out.

Respite can also be a godsend for families during an emergency. For this reason, experts recommend that families research respite care options before the need arises. The National Respite Network writes, “To be most effective, you should use respite services much earlier than you think you will need them. Respite will be most helpful if you use it before you become exhausted, isolated or overwhelmed by your responsibilities.”

Source: “A Place for Mom”