Caring for a special needs child or adult becomes a part of
daily life for many parents and caregivers. Itâ€™s a demanding and difficult job, and many parents donâ€™t
get the breaks they need to stay healthy.
It is critical for parents and caregivers to get care of their own in
the form of respite, which is a short-term break that can relieve stress, re-energize
your life, and give you a sense of balance.
When parents of a special needs child spend so much time
putting all their energy into their family, work, and all the tasks required of
caring for special needs --doctor visits, therapy sessions, IEP meetings, and
so forth -- they often â€śforgetâ€ť to take care of themselves. However, maintaining your own health is
vital to being able to provide daily care for the special needs child.
You should seek out respite care before you become overwhelmed,
exhausted, or isolated. No one can
care for the special needs child alone.
Many people in your life will realize all the effort you put into your
family, and friends, spouses, and family members will be willing to give you
the respite you need. If family
support is not an option, or you need extra time to relax, professional respite
care services are available.
Some in-home respite services include online caregiver
communities and workshops, volunteer or paid companionship, and skilled health
assistance. Out-of-home respite
care services include adult day programs, residential respite care, and caregiver
It is best to first think about your needs and what is best
for your special needs child.
Consider how often you need respite care and what services are available
in your community. Think about if
you need individual therapy services or even just a short break each day. Many online bloggers and communities
can provide that brief respite or laughter you need to feel energized. Make a list of your daily activities
and tasks and prioritize which ones you might need help with; for example, do
you need someone to help with transportation or to make trips to the grocery
When searching for independent care providers, be sure to
interview each candidate and make clear the routines and expectations for
caring for your special needs child.
Check references, both personal and professional, and discuss the
providerâ€™s ability to handle stress or particular situations. When looking at respite care agencies,
ask them how their providers are screened and selected, how they are supervised,
and what services are offered with a given program.
Insurance, SSI, Medicaid, nonprofit organizations, and other
benefits might help pay for respite care.
Respite might come from a combination of hiring a professional and
allowing yourself breaks throughout the day, whether it be fifteen minutes to
read or write a blog or watching a movie or television show at night. Find support groups and attend them
regularly, whether it is in person or through online services. Making respite care a part of your
routine is integral to making it work.