Respite Care

Caring for a loved one can be stressful, especially when all your energy goes toward supporting their needs and there’s nothing left over for you.  This is why it’s important to remember to care for yourself as well.  You are an essential part of your loved one’s life, so breaks from caregiving will be a benefit to both of you.

Respite care can take many forms. It gives you a break from your responsibilities, whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks.  Respite services are often in high demand so try to schedule as far in advance as possible.

Types of Respite

In-home respite can be arranged through Continuing Care or through a private provider. A respite worker will come to your home for a few hours to provide company and supervision. They will also make sure your loved one is safe so you can relax and take a break.  Call Caregivers Nova Scotia to talk about your needs and we may be able to help you find the service that's right for you.

Program-based respite can be found at Adult Day Programs across the province or through local recreation centres or community volunteer organizations.  Day programs can run for a few hours to as long as 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 you usually have to pay a fee.  Access to the Facility-Based Respite program is through Continuing Care. A list of facilities that have a respite bed can be found in the LTC Facility Directory.  At the end of each facility listing, it will tell you how many beds they have, as well as how many are for respite care. In some cases, the fee for facility-based respite can be reduced or waived. The policy and request form regarding fee review can be found here.

Private providers - Some families hire respite services through an agency or organization.  This might be more attractive in that it is likely that the agency has confirmed the credentials of their employees. 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 might provide help with some of the cost of respite.  The Direct Family Support Program provides funding to eligible families to enable them to support their family member with a disability at home.  The Flex Program provides funding to participants who live at home with their families or live independently. The funds are used 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 that the person being hired is screened to ensure that they can provide safe and quality care.

Caregiver Tips

Every caregiver has a right to enjoy their life, even if their care recipient cannot join in with them. Self-care doesn’t just happen.  You have to make sure you keep your own 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.  If any changes need to be made it will be easier to tell what they are.  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.