We all need a break from time to time.
Whether it is 5 minutes away from your desk, a long weekend away or a two week holiday in the sun, a change is good. A rest is better.
If, however, you have a learning disability or care for someone with a learning disability, a break isn’t all that straight forward but can be needed more than most.
There are a wide and varied number of challenges linked with learning disabilities and whilst there are commonalities between one person and another, everyone’s circumstances are unique to them.
These challenges can make everyday life sometimes feel a little harder than it needs to be and all parties – those that face those challenges and those who support them – need to press the pause button every now and then.
This is normal, it’s natural and it’s healthy.
Respite services exist to give both the individual and the carer/s a break and whilst it may seem easier to keep ‘muddling by’, we promise you that pretty soon muddling by will feel like an uphill struggle.
Here are our 5 benefits for why you should consider respite care:
1. You can relax.
Whether you’re the individual or the carer, the pressure is gone. Don’t be under any illusions; whilst there is a deep bond of love between the two parties, be it familial or friendship, you’re both under a great deal of pressure.
On the one hand the carer feels pressure to support the individual and cater for their needs. On the other, the individual may be aware of the efforts their carer goes to and that can bring with it feelings of guilt. Even with little awareness the impact of caring for a person can upset the emotional environment which, regardless of a learning disability, we will all react to.
The break helps to dispel this potentially damaging imbalance in the relationship.
2. Invest your time.
This is so important because it’s an opportunity for both parties to be themselves again rather than part of a symbiotic entity. It may seem strange at first as it’s natural for the both parties to become reliant on one another’s company and routines.
For the person going into respite, they have an opportunity to do activities and go on excursions that day to day wouldn’t be an option. They’re run by trained professionals so they don’t have to worry about anything other than turning up and enjoying themselves.
The carer has the luxury to not just recharge but to go on that short break, or for a spa day or whatever their heart’s desire. As tempting as it may be to spend those few days in bed, we strongly recommend that the time is invested as positively as possible.
3. You can grow
For the person going in to respite, it’s a break from the routine and an opportunity to live in a different setting, try new things and explore services and activities that may not be available to them under normal circumstances. However, if your daily routine is important to you and that’s what makes the world right for you, a good respite service will respect that and will make sure your routines are followed.
It gives them an opportunity to determine if they are achieving all they want from life and if not, how the services available can help them achieve those goals.
Equally, the carer has the chance to take stock and reassess themselves and the current situation. Ultimately the arrangement has to work for both parties and if that’s not the case then something needs to change.
4. You’ll be pleased to see each other
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Whilst the break will no doubt have done you good and there will be a part of you that is almost sad it’s over (don’t feel guilty, you’re only human) you will be pleased to see one another.
Take advantage of that and organise regular fun things to do together so routine doesn’t take over again. Though we understand for many people routine is the ‘glue’ to making things work on a day to day basis.
5. You’ll want to make changes
Whether it’s during the respite or after, you will both have identified things that you’ll want to change in your circumstances. Some of those changes could be huge whereas others are quite slight.
Whatever they are, take time to talk about the break and what you want for yourselves and each other moving forward.
An outcome could be to access more services. That can come at a cost but equally there may be funding available.
Either way, it’s a wonderful opportunity to clear lines of communication and move forward as a team to achieve what you both want from life.
Encompass offers are dedicated respite service for those with learning disabilites. We have the team and capacity to make sure the needs to the indivudal are taken in to account so they go into a calm and safe environment.