Ready, Set, Respite: What to Know About Taking a Break

By Meghan Kluth, Vice President of Respite Initiatives at the Colorado Respite Coalition ~

Summer is quickly approaching and while the majority of Coloradans are ready for some time off, caregivers may find it challenging to take a break. 

For many older adults, caring for a loved one is part of daily life. There are estimated to be nearly 584,000 caregivers in Colorado (AARP), with a large number struggling to balance their caregiving duties and maintain a personal life outside the home. 

Caregivers are typically in worse health and are at risk for a variety of disorders including depression, stress, and heart disease, all due to a lack of self-care. Respite, a temporary break from caregiving, may provide time to recharge and ultimately lead to better health outcomes for family caregivers. 

Lori Ramos Lemasters, a former caregiver and now a caregiving expert at Care Partners Resource explains, “It can be hard to think about yourself because the person you’re caring for seems more important. But the truth is, taking a break from stress and having some time to yourself will actually make you a better caregiver.”

Respite care can look different for everyone and comes in many forms. Respite care may be provided:

  • In the home
  • At a day program or other center
  • Overnight
  • By professionals, friends, relatives, etc.
  • By faith communities or other community groups

Every relationship needs a break, and time apart may be just as important for the non-caregiver in the relationship. Lemasters notes, “Respite is beneficial for the person receiving care as well because it can provide the opportunity for them to socialize and enjoy community experiences with others.”

According to NASUAD, eight out of 10 caregivers say they could use more information and support, like respite, but don’t always know where to start. The Colorado Respite Coalition, a program of Easterseals Colorado, encourages caregivers to seek resources in their local communities by visiting, or calling 1-844-265-2372. 

Aging Well in Jefferson County is a strategic planning project focused on developing and implementing strategies to create inclusive, livable communities through sustainable partnerships and integrated services. The Caregiving and Supportive Services Workgroup is one of six Workgroups addressing all aspects of life of aging residents in Jefferson County.