Respite care for the elderly and how it supports the carer

A quick reference guide to respite care

Respite care is a short-term stay, often around one to two weeks, in a care home, such as Birchwood House, and is usually arranged to give a carer a holiday from their care-related duties.  These breaks can be planned or, in cases of emergency, unplanned or at short notice. This is particularly common when friends or family members are acting as a carer and allows them time to look after their own health and well-being.

Looking after yourself when you are a full or part-time carer is often not easy and can have a negative impact on health. Over 80% of carers said that caring has had a negative impact on their physical health, as highlighted in research by Carers UK. The pandemic has elevated this need, as lockdown restrictions forced many home carers to manage all care services at home without support. 

So, what are the advantages of respite care?

Preparation for full-time residential care

Occasionally, clients from our friends at Birchwood Care Services will spend some respite time here at Birchwood House in Tunbridge Wells, after an operation, for instance, when they require higher levels of assistance than usual. Respite breaks can also prepare someone for transition to full-time life in a residential care home, a sort of ‘trial-run’ prior to moving in permanently; it’s often a really good way to see how life is in a residential care home.

Time out for the carer

Caring for a loved one can be stressful, putting a strain on the carers’ health. The well-being of a carer is just as important as that of the person they are caring for – in fact, an exhausted carer can impact the quality of care they can offer. Respite care gives them a break so they can recharge, invest in self-care and then return to their caring duties with renewed vigour. Some 61% of carers felt their health would be improved by taking more regular breaks from caring, according to research by Carers UK

Social stimulation

A short respite break gives the elderly an opportunity to speak to new people and take part in fun, motivating leisure activities. These are both mentally and physically stimulating, enhancing their well-being and feelings of self-worth. Feeling a sense of community and sharing experiences in our care home, enhances wellbeing and happiness.

Healthy, home-cooked meals

Good nutrition is just important as we age and at Birchwood House, we provide balanced healthy meals that also deliver on taste. Traditional meals are provided to guests, with an emphasis on smaller meals to support their energy levels throughout the day. You can be assured they will eat just as well as at home.

A change is as good as a rest!

A simple change of scenery can be highly beneficial for those being cared for. Here at Birchwood House in Tunbridge Wells, we pride ourselves on our beautiful rural setting with views onto our landscaped gardens and the High Weald beyond. For many elderly people, who may have been house-bound for much longer periods due to the pandemic, a respite break to Birchwood House can give them renewed energy – a sort of mini-break to the countryside! If you think you or your elderly relative would enjoy respite care here at beautiful Birchwood House in Tunbridge Wells, please get in touch so we can discuss the various options available

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