Respite Care

Giving care to a loved one can be very stressful, especially when all your energy goes to supporting your care recipient.  It is important to remember to care for yourself as well. You are an essential part of your loved one’s life.  Breaks from caregiving are essential for your wellness and that of your loved one.  

Respite care can take many forms and provides the caregiver with a break from their responsibilities, whether for a few hours or a few weeks. Respite services are often in high demand so remember to schedule as far in advance as possible.

Types of Respite

In-home respite may be arranged through Continuing Care or through a private provider.  A respite worker comes to your home for a few hours to provide company and supervision, ensuring your loved one is safe so you can relax and step away for a break.  Call Caregivers Nova Scotia to discuss your needs and we may be able to help you find the service that is right for you.

Program-based respite can be found at Adult Day Programs across the province or through other local recreation centres or community volunteer organizations.  These opportunities can range from a few hours to all day. The caregiver is normally responsible for transportation.  For more information, please see Adult Day Program listings on our website.  

Facility-based respite is for longer periods, from days to weeks.  This service is provided in a long-term care facility and there is usually a fee involved. Access to the Facility-Based Respite program is through Continuing Care. A listing of facilities that have a respite bed can be found in the LTC Facility Directory.  At the end of each facility listing, it will note how many beds are at that site as well as how many are designated respite beds. In some cases, the fee for facility-based respite may be reduced or waived.  The policy and request form regarding fee review can be found here.

Private providers - Some families opt to hire respite services through an agency or organization.  This option may be more attractive in that it is likely that staff have been vetted by the agency and their credentials are confirmed.  A list of private providers can be found on the CNS website.

The Department of Community Services (DCS), Services for Persons with Disabilities has programs that may address some of the cost of respite.  The Direct Family Support Program is intended to provide funding to eligible families to enable them to support their family member with a disability at home.  The Flex Program provides funding to participants living at home with their families or living independently to purchase supports, promote independence, and offer an alternative to residential placement.

For those families who decide to hire their own staff, the Nova Scotia Respite Guide offers some helpful tips on advertising, interviewing, hiring and training your own employees who may be better able to respond to your loved one's specific needs.  Additional care must be taken to vet the person being hired.

Caregiver Tips

Every caregiver has a right to enjoy their life, even if their care recipient cannot join in on the activities.  Self-care doesn’t just happen.  You have to set the intention of maintaining your sense
of self.

We all need time to rest and recharge.  Giving devoted care to your loved one, without giving a thought to caring for yourself, is all too familiar for most caregivers.  However, this reluctance to self-care will eventually take its toll.

It is important to make your health and well-being a priority.  Studies show that when caregivers take time for themselves, it improves their ability to give care in the long run.  Having access to and taking advantage of respite is one way for caregivers to take some time to look after their own needs.

Sometimes just stepping away from the situation for a short period will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes, and necessary changes may be more clearly identified.  This article, Caregivers Need Breaks Too: 5 Benefits of Respite, will help you understand that everyone benefits when you are rested and refreshed.

Even if you don’t know what to do with time off, schedule it.  Then call us to find out about recreational opportunities in your community so we can help you make a plan for some time for yourself.