By Rob Faubion, Marketing & Outreach Manager at AGE of Central Texas
I just returned from a much-needed vacation – my first real vacation in 11 years – and it made me think about how, as a fellow caregiver, we recharge our batteries. I didn’t realize until I was actually on-the-road just how much I needed my recent break. And now that I’m back in my daily full-swing, I’m really glad I made myself take that time away.
AGE just hosted our 14th annual “Striking a Balance” Caregiver Conference with our partners at the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area, and our keynote speaker – noted author and aging expert Dr. Sara Qualls – spoke eloquently on how caregivers need to make time to take of themselves. We all recognize that fact, but we often find ourselves so deep in our caregiving responsibilities that taking a break becomes a fantasy instead of a necessity.
But here is the reality: caregivers are four times more likely to have major physical and mental disruptions than the average adult. We are putting ourselves through so much (emotionally, physically and mentally) as caregivers that if we don’t find the time to take care of ourselves, we are guaranteed to eventually hit a wall. And that is not going to help the loved one in our care.
One of the easiest ways to take a break is by utilizing respite opportunities. Here in Central Texas, there are dozens of organizations that offer respite every week, at locations throughout the region. We have lists of the regional dementia respite providers here on the AGE of Central Texas website.
Respite is not only a fun experience for your loved one, but it gives you a few hours each week to reclaim your identity. You can take off the “caregiver” cloak for a few hours and just indulge in what you want or need. Have your hair done, go shopping, take in a movie, unwind in the park, or just take a nap – it’s your time without restrictions, guilt, or responsibilities.
Utilizing respite is not an option; it is an absolute requirement. If you need help with finding a respite opportunity near you, call the AGE Caregiver Resource Center at (512) 600-9286.
SPECIAL NOTE: Sundance Brushy Creek Premier Memory Care, located at 3000 Glacier Pass Lane in Cedar Park, has extended their free overnight respite service until Thanksgiving! The overnight respite is good up to 5 nights, and there are no strings attached. To set up an intake and to request more information, please contact Bekah Brown, Director of Admissions, at (512) 387-0988.