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Taking the time to care for an elderly or sick relative is a big commitment, but one that can be immensely fulfilling. In fact, more and more Australians are finding themselves occupying the position of carer, as the population grows older and existing medical frameworks begin to creak under the weight. It's fantastic that people are living longer, especially if they can do so in the comfort of their own home with the help of a relative, but the pressure can take a toll on caregivers. 

With the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimating that a little over 10 per cent of the nation's population provide care to relatives, it's important for there to be services available to assist. This is known as respite care, and it can be critical in avoiding burnout amongst carers. 

Loneliness can come about through the lack of any free time to spend with friends and other family.

Carer burnout

Caring for a relative is a full time job, especially if there are serious medical or mobility issues that need to be dealt with. For many, the work is completely unpaid, creating a friction between taking care of a loved one and needing to earn a living. Often, this results in some truly hectic schedules and a complete lack of time for themselves. Eventually, this leads to exhaustion, stress and burnout. There's also an issue of greater health to consider, with many carers feeling overwhelmed by the work and unable to take proper care of themselves.

Another common problem experienced by familial carers is isolation. Loneliness can come about through the lack of any free time to spend with friends and other family, or simply as a result of not getting enough rest.

It can be difficult to ask for help, and many feel guilty about handing over care responsibilities, but in the longer term, respite care assistance is the best way to ensure a healthy balance for both carer and senior.

It's okay to ask for help when taking care of an elderly relative. It's okay to ask for help when taking care of an elderly relative.

How respite care can help

The responsibility of caring isn't something that should be taken lightly, and if somebody is too exhausted to properly look after a senior, there really isn't an upside for anyone. After all, if you're exhausted and not physically fit enough to assist when an accident takes place, it may even be putting a senior's safety at risk. 

Some carers only need a few hours of cover during the week to run errands.

Respite care provides support for carers and seniors alike, and just like other forms of in home care, it can be completely tailored to your specific situation. Some carers only need a few hours of cover during the week to run errands, while others may need a few days in order to work or study. Regardless of your specific situation, there's a respite care solution out there, and of course, you can be kept completely up to date via text or phone calls. 

There are plenty of reasons why you might need a bit of time away from the responsibilities of being a primary caregiver, and whether your relationship with a senior is becoming strained or you simply need a little time to yourself, there is never any need to feel guilty. Instead, taking the break that you need will allow you to recharge your batteries, and ultimately make you a better carer by keeping you fit and ready to assist a loved one. 

If you'd like to find out more about respite care, get in touch with Bannister In Home Care today.