Self-care has been a bit of a buzzword lately, but for parents of individuals with special needs, the need to take care of yourself is nothing new. Caregiving requires strength, compassion and patience and families often put their own well-being aside while caring for their children, which can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Respite care is a short interval of relief from responsibilities that can be stressful and overburdening.
When you are a caregiver, taking a break can seem like a luxury, but it is necessary for your well-being, as well as your family’s well-being. Why is respite so important?
It’s important for you
Without a break, you will get burnt out. You can’t take care of someone else, if you aren’t taking care of yourself. By taking little breaks, you can be your best self, rather than in a constant cycle of exhaustion and stress.
When we think of self-care, we often picture doing a face-mask or taking a relaxing bath. But it’s a lot more than that. Self-care could mean taking your time cooking rather than rushing, running errands, or doing a exercise class. Simple things that improve your mental and physical health, but can be hard to find time for as a caregiver.
It’s important for your family
Your whole family can benefit from respite! A 2013 study showed a link between hours of respite care and improved marital quality. Just a one hour per week increase in respite led to an increase in marital quality – so go ahead, take that date night with your spouse! Respite also has benefits for the siblings of individuals with special needs. Maybe they’ve always wanted you to volunteer on their school field trip, or do a one-on-one activity with them. Respite allows for this flexibility in your schedule.
It’s important for your child
As a parent it’s natural to think that no one can care for your child the way that you do. And it’s true, no one will care for your child exactly the way you do. And that’s okay! Respite programs and services are run by professionals who are trained to work with individuals with a variety of needs. Your child will be safe, well-cared for, and will have some fun! It’s an opportunity for your child to socialize with new people, develop long-lasting friendships, and explore new environments. There are lots of programs out there to engage with your child in meaningful ways, and even train them on essential life skills, like taking transit, or volunteering.
Respite care can take many different forms: day camps, in-home care, drop-in programming. It is not a one-size fits all solution, which is why at AdaptAbilities we offer many different options for respite in Edmonton.
We have year-round programming, centre respite, in-home services, as well as our Hearts in Action summer camp. Respite care is the core of what we do at AdaptAbilities. We are actively filling gaps in the system, providing purposeful support for our participants, while building capacity for families.
If you are interested in getting started with our services – get in touch!