Christmas has crept upon us, ready to bring the usual mix of endless shopping lists, last minute panic buys, and general overindulgence. And of course, the most important thing the festive season brings is the chance to see and enjoy the company of our families and loved ones.
For some, spending time together requires little more than negotiation over where it’s best to spend Christmas day and who will do the cooking. When a loved one is receiving care, working out how to bring the family together can feel fraught with challenges. It doesn’t need to be stressful, but there are some things it’s important to think about and some key questions to ask if you have a family member who needs care.
The first thing to consider is respite care. There are lots of different reasons why families need respite care. If your loved one is cared for by a family carer, it can give the carer a well-deserved and much needed break. If they are in a care home, respite care means they can spend Christmas at home, surrounded by family. Sometimes, if the festive season plans take you elsewhere, it’s necessary to leave a family member alone over the holidays. If this is the case, knowing that they have company and are being looked after is essential. Finally, if you employ an at-home professional carer, you may find that they want time during the break to spend with their own family.
If you find yourself in any one of these situations, SuperCarers have provided some important things to consider when organising much needed respite care:
Plan ahead. Care agencies and organisations are likely to be busy over the festive season, so the earlier you can organise care, the better.
Think about what you need assistance with. Respite carers are available for anything from a few hours to a few weeks, and can adapt their services to whatever your family needs. Services range from medication prompts, help getting around and assistance with personal tasks like bathing and dressing.
Talk openly about care options with everyone involved. Before any decisions are made, look at what your choices are and find a solution that works for everyone. Once you’ve come to a decision, think about the ways of making the process easier for everyone. It’s very normal for there to be nervousness about someone new providing care. One way of navigating this is to arrange for the carer to visit once or twice in advance. If you’re short on time, virtual visits on Skype or FaceTime are perhaps more convenient.
Think about timings. If you are leaving your loved one with a new carer whilst going away for Christmas, arranging some overlap time is a good idea. This can be helpful for everyone – the carer will know their way around, your loved one will feel more at home with them, and for your part you’ll be able to really relax if you’re confident that your carer knows and understands the needs of your loved one.
Find the right fit for you. Care is a very personal affair – you need to feel you’re leaving your loved one in trusted hands. Most importantly, the person who needs care must feel comfortable with their carer. In our experience, care workers are all dedicated, committed individuals – but there needs to be a personal spark. If you’re dealing with an agency, don’t be afraid to ask to meet other carers if you don’t gel with the first person they send. You can also arrange to ‘meet’ carers via Skype or over the phone if you’re short on time.
For more care advice, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine