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res•pite (res?pit) noun

res·pite (res?pit)


1. an interval of temporary relief or rest, as from work, duty, etc.; lull

2. refresh, renew, restore, refuel

Respite care is the provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home. Many caregivers consider taking a break to be the most important thing they can do for themselves in order to sustain their ability and desire to care for someone else. It is essential for family caregivers to find ways to leave their caregiving responsibilities and stress behind. No one can continue to expend their energy, strength and time, giving to someone else, without replenishing their own reserves. Respite care provides this relief and allows caregivers to maintain their loved ones at home longer.

R: Refuel, rest and restore your sense of balance. Caregiver is just one of your many roles.

E: Escape – getting out with old or new friends can refresh the spirit and restore your sense of purpose and energy.

S: Support networks are worth preserving. Visit distant children, rejoin the circle at your church, your bridge club or exercise group.

P: Plan those precious moments of pleasurable activities. Maybe an uninterrupted nap is the first on your respite agenda.

I: Integrate time-off into your overall personal care plan. Your “patient” will appreciate your improved “patience”.

T: Treat yourself; you deserve a break. Your health and well-being are your greatest assets.

E: Eat out with friends.

Respite services can be provided for an extended period of time, even as long as several years. Unfortunately, most caregivers don’t realize they are in need of respite care until there is a crisis. Many family caregivers don’t see themselves as being entitled to a break. Without respite, not only can families suffer economically and emotionally, caregivers themselves may face serious health and social risks as a result of stress associated with continuous caregiving. Respite has been shown to help sustain family caregiver health and wellbeing, avoid or delay out-of-home placements and reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect. Respite also improves the quality of life for the loved one by giving them interaction with a new person and having the chance to experience others caring for him/her. When the caregiver takes the time to refuel, it improves their overall mindset and interactions with the care receiver.

Virginia Beach Respite Care for the Elderly, a division of Senior Adult Services, , City of Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, provides in-home respite that allows primary caregivers to take a break from their responsibilities. A caring, kind and dependable adult sitter/trained respite caregiver can provide socialization and supervision to an individual 60 years or older for 3 hours or more at a time. While personal care is not provided (i.e. bathing, toileting, etc.) the respite caregiver does provide quality companionship and stimulation to the care receiver, assures safety, assists with meals and supports the family caregiver.

Respite Care is a very affordable in-home service, as we are able to offer a sliding scale fee, based on the care receiver’s income. The hourly fee ranges between $3.00 and $8.00 per hour. Respite care can be used regularly or sporadically, meeting the needs of the family. For information and an application call Nancy Alla, Respite Care Coordinator at 385-4135 or Lisa Russo at 385-4128.

If the family resides in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk or on the Peninsula, they can contact Catholic Charities, which provides the same type of respite care program at a comparable cost. Call Jeanette Heiney at 456-5136 for more information about respite care in those localities.

Virginia Beach Respite Care also sponsors 2 monthly support groups for caregivers. The groups are open to everyone – you don’t need to be using respite care services to attend. They are on-going and meet monthly and provide a comfortable setting in which caregivers can honestly share their frustration and fears, obtain helpful information about area resources and most importantly, find out that they are not alone.

Central Library group: 4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach – meets the second Wednesday of every month from 10 am to 12 noon (entrance to the library before formal opening time at 10 can be accessed through the back/side door).

Municipal Center group: Virginia Beach Fire Administration Building 21 Conference Room – meets the third Friday of each month from 12 noon to 1pm. This office is located near the corner of North Landing Road and City Hall Avenue.

For more information on the support groups, call Nancy Allan at 385-4135.

This article is a compilation of information from many sources, including: Ask Us – The Reminder – Spring 2005/Carol Gurioli, Lisa Gwyther, MSW, wikipedia.org, medicinenet.com, caringtoday.com

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