Caring is hard. We might consider ourselves compassionate creatures but, truth be told, caring requires effort and determination. Sometimes, it’s simply too much. For the 2.8 million informal carers in Australia, this compassion fatigue can quickly spiral into burnout if no circuit breaker is found.
Caring for a friend or family member living with a severe restriction can be an incredibly enriching experience. But it can also be draining. The demanding nature of this work means carers often find their dreams and ambitions put on hold for lengthy periods, find themselves isolated from their social group, and they can even temporarily lose their empathy.
Fortunately, the circuit breaker is often as simple as a little time off. Respite care, such as that offered by BASScare at Maranoa House, can be as beneficial for the carer as it is for the one receiving the care. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of respite care.
Reconnect with friends
The role of carer demands more hours than a fulltime job. It’s 24/7. With so little free time, it’s difficult to maintain meaningful contact with friends and family. Bite-sized catch-ups over an app are no replacement for face-to-face socialising. Sometimes, the distance between seeing friends or family can stretch so long that it feels as if we’ve been forgotten, that our social group has moved on. Friends of carers, though, can find it difficult to know the best way to offer support, and a lack of action can often be misconstrued as a lack of care.
The beauty of respite care is that it provides the opportunity for the carer to schedule a face-to-face catch up, whether that’s at home or at the local café. It may only be an hour or two, but oftentimes this is enough to get that universally-needed dose of companionship and rejuvenation.
Reconnect with yourself
When a significant portion of your life involves caring for another person, being on your own can sometimes be what you crave the most. When you take advantage of the respite care offered at Maranoa House, the best way to make most of your free time could be to engage in some hobby or activity you once did regularly before taking on the role of carer.
Cycling, reading, gardening, painting. Whatever you once took pleasure in, take the opportunity to do it again. This is a brilliant way of distracting the mind from negative thought cycles and putting yourself first (briefly).
The respite care offered at Maranoa House is a wonderful opportunity for the person being cared for to see different faces and engage in new activities. One of a few of its kind, our service provides a range of activities, such as the In-House Program, Going Out Club, The Italian Program, Young On-Set Dementia Program, among others. The setting is tranquil and welcoming, and our clients who have been visiting us for some time often feel like they’re coming to a second home.
These engaging and new activities can be incredibly rejuvenating for those in care, helping to reduce levels of depression and frustration that often come with a reduced ability to communicate in a meaningful way.
Sometimes, it’s the people going through a similar experience who offer the best company. One of the most valuable benefits of the respite care provided by Maranoa House is the carer’s group, a safe and supportive environment for carers to take a break and have a chat with others in the same situation. Apart from making new friends, it’s a great opportunity to discuss issues you might be having and learn about possible solutions. The carers who regularly attend the group find the support and encouragement invaluable.