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The caregiver's reality and the need for respite

On August 21, 2017 by Caregiver support counsellors

Regardless of whether the loss of autonomy of the person receiving care was sudden or gradual and whether the support provided by the caregiver is out of love or a sense of duty, most caregivers share one thing in common: the need for respite.

Studies show that caregivers are at greater risk for experiencing exhaustion, which can have a significant impact on their own health. However, many put off asking for help and when they do, they are often already worn out. The truth is that asking for help or accepting letting strangers into our homes can be difficult and requires a period of adjustment, both for the person receiving care and the caregiver. Despite everything, professionals and support workers agree that respite services are necessary to prevent caregiver exhaustion.


What is respite?

Respite may be defined as “all the activities […] designed to reduce the stress and physical and emotional fatigue” of caregivers. The goal of respite services is to release loved ones from the duties associated with their caregiving role. By providing an environment that ensures the safety and well-being of persons receiving care, caregivers can take some time for themselves, to take part in activities outside the home, such as going out to eat with a friend, or going shopping or to a medical appointment.


What types of respite are there?

Respite services may be provided by community organizations or institutional resources. They may be free or have a cost and may be provided in your home or somewhere else (e.g., a day centre). The frequency and duration of respite services varies from one place to the next. From just supervision to respite services that include stimulating activities for the person receiving care, respite is provided in many forms. The services of a private company or an individual can also be used.

Finally, it is important to note that the accessibility of respite services varies depending on the area.

For more information on the respite services available in your area, call Caregiver Support at 1-855-852-7784.


Paquet, M. et C. Richard. (2003). Du répit pour les personnes-soutien au récit d’une expérience de soin : une étude exploratoire dans la MRC des Moulins. Service de surveillance, recherche et évaluation, Direction de santé publique et d’évaluation et Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Lanaudière.