“Are we there yet?!” What parent hasn’t heard that question? For that matter, who hasn’t muttered it themselves when a project or task seems endlessly endless? Children usually can’t read maps and understand miles per hour, so the amount of time that trips and journeys take can seem like a mystery to them.
As caregivers, we are also unable to predict the length of our loved one’s journey. Even though our intent is to finish well, there will be times that our hands will sag, our eyes will droop and our soul will sigh. We will grow weary, become exhausted and experience frustration at the whole situation. At that point, we, just like the little children will lament, “Are we there yet?”, and “How much longer?”
You need relief. You need help. You need sleep. This is the time when respite moves from a luxury to a necessity. It becomes essential. Look around. Is there anyone in your world who could step in for you for some number or hours so you can get some ‘me time’?
One common characteristic of caregivers is that they don’t usually want to ‘burden’ anyone else with their responsibility. We have to understand and become convinced that our friends and family love us and would be willing to step in and help, but they typically don’t know what’s needed. And if you aren’t willing to ask for help, no one will ever know. Asking for help is not a weakness, it is a gift you give yourself so that you can continue to care for your loved one.
When my Mama lived with my sister, we would take her to our house on occasion to give my sister respite, when she lived with us, we would take her to a care home (we called it her vacation resort) that received ‘guests’ for short periods of time simply ford folks to get breathers and a good night sleep. It made a difference.
It wasn’t until after Mama had to live permanently in a carehome that I realized how much time and energy her care had required. You don’t often realize when you are in the middle of it—I actually gained weight after Mama left because I wasn’t jumping up every few minutes to do this or that in the course of caregiving.
There were a lot of fundamental things we did for Mama’s sake to help her reside as comfortably, safely and joyfully as possible while she lived with us. Respite was the essential thing we did for us.