“Respite” is a word I thought I could define, that is until I tried ‘googling’ the word ‘respite’. Whoa! There is way too much information.
Caregivers are a spectrum and respite obviously varies. “The gift of time” seems unquestionably the best of possible definitions.
Current guestimates are that 20% of adult Americans provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. … Are you part of the remaining 80% and looking for that perfect gift? Try ‘the gift of time’!
Respite does not mean you watch so and so while I take a break.
In US culture, family, friends, and neighbors are frankly intuitive about respite and wonderfully supportive “in the beginning”. For example, bringing over a meal, visiting is about helping. Rolling up the sleeves and talking while sharing some housekeeping chores.
As time goes by in long term care, caregiver support drifts. That early network of pulling together fades.
Not every caregiver makes it easy to help. Taking care of everything by oneself can get all mixed up in gender, culture, and more. Invite yourself, yes, just try a little give and take. Help shouldn’t kick down the door. Don’t define help, be helpful.
A parent caregiver recently shared with me how a visit from a taller and more mechanically inclined friend spontaneously shifted to replacing burned out bulbs in every ceiling light. Not only was the respite visit enjoyable but the ‘gift of time’ illuminates the home long afterwards not only in light but in memory of friendship and caring.
Knowing you are not alone is a beacon for any caregiver, any time, any where.