Respite, Part 2

All caregivers need respite.

Respite Care for All Ages

A few years ago I listened to a fascinating talk by the mother of a special needs child.  She had many eye-opening statements.  For instance, it has been said that caregivers may suffer a chronic condition at more than twice the rate as non-caregivers.   Another frightening statistic is that the stress of caregiving can take as much as ten years off a family caregiver’s life.  She also said that parents of special needs children have a higher divorce rate.

Before we go into today’s post about respite, let me put your mind at ease about stress.  Not only, will this post give you some pointers about respite, it will also direct you to other posts that may help your mental and physical health.  To read other posts about how to deal with stress, click here or here.

Why do parents of special needs children tend to have more stress on their marriage?  Special needs children demand so much more attention.  Parents are often so busy with the needs of the child that they neglect the reason they married.

Adults must have time with each other that does not include the children.  Each partner must also have some alone time, without the spouse or the child/ children in order to maintain sanity.  How can one person accomplish taking care of a special needs child, nurturing a marriage , and keeping their own mind intact?

The benefits of respite care:

Look into the benefits of respite care.  If you do not have a family member who can watch your child, check around your county for organizations that may offer in-home caregiving while you take a break.  There are also facilities that allow you to drop your child off for the night or weekend.

Supervised summer camps are another alternative.  Check into these options thoroughly due to some counties not offering these services.  There is a possibility that you may have to drive quite a distance to find a facility that does offer these preferences.

Before you leave your child anywhere:

  1. Get many references and credentials.
  2. Contact the national organization that represents your child’s unique condition.
  3. Check online for complaints that may have been filed.
  4. Ask the Better Business Bureau if they know of any claims that might have come against the camp or facility.
  5. Use technology to your advantage.
  6. Get involved in special needs support groups so that you can get advice from others who have walked the same path you are on.
  7. View online support groups for their recommendations and reviews.
  8. Ask your child’s counselor, nurse, social worker, or physician for their recommendation.
  9. Do not ever leap too quickly- if something seems too good to be true, it might be.
  10. Likewise, do not turn down a possibility for fear of the lack of finances.  Some camps offer scholarships.

Respite Benefits for the Patient:


  1. Provides more variety and relationships for the patient
  2. Reduces feelings of social isolation and depression
  3. Allows opportunities for growth and development
  4. Provides space between the caregiver and their loved one- prevents emotions from running high and leading to domestic abuse
  5. Ensures the patient will not be neglected at times when a family caregiver is not there
  6. Meets the person’s physical and emotional needs
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