Respite care. I know some of you are in receipt of this truly precious time each week/fortnight/month and I also know how amazing it can be. But BOY does each session whizz by. How does a respite hour go so much faster than an hour at work, for example?
What is respite care?
Respite care is support given to families where one of the members has special needs or other constant support requirements. Respite care offers a break from caring. Time to look after yourself and do something you enjoy. It can involve the family member attending a day centre, care home, a respite holiday or spending some time with a Support Worker/Carer whilst you recuperate.
I remember when Jude attended a local day centre for a few hours every fortnight. It was great but because of funding, the sessions weren’t hugely consistent meaning Jude was never certain if he was going or not. This didn’t work for him. But I know children who attended the same place and had a fantastic time. They offered overnight as well as a few hours/whole day sessions. But as with everything, it was all about the funding. We were given a certain amount of hours a year – I think our first allocation was 41 hours a year (I kid you not) so it wasn’t exactly a huge amount of respite for me. I fought and managed to get this raised to 95 hours which…still pretty crap if you work out the mathematics of 95 hours spread across a year.
And this is partly why I wanted to write this post. In honour of the amazing carers out there. During Carer’s Week 2019. You are all absolutely awesome. And I sincerely hope that you have people who care for you and help you as much as you care for others.
So for all those with minimal amounts of respite…I’ve tried to think of TWENTY of the best things to do when you only have an hour to yourself…
- Arrange a treatment for yourself – manicure, pedicure, facial. Anything that helps you relax and feel pampered.
- Read a book. My absolute favourite thing to do in the whole world…grab a book, go to a nearby coffee shop and escape from the stresses of life.
- Take a walk. It’s amazing how much better you can feel from stepping outside filling your lungs with some fresh air. Plan a route you love, wander to the shops or go rural if you’re lucky enough to have some woods nearby.
- Shopping. Meh, buy the shoes. There are few pleasures that rank higher in life for me than wandering around the shops ON MY OWN for a little while. Even half an hour – it’s absolute therapy.
- Go for a swim. Your muscles will thank you for it.
- Housework. Ok, don’t bite my head off for this one but how amazing does it feel when your house is lovely and clean? A quick whizz around and you’ll feel so happy in your own environment again. Plus I know there are some of you out there who actually enjoy housework…there must be some at least.
- Cup of *tea with a friend! Ok, I know this is a hard one as many parents of special needs children struggle with friendships. I know I’m one of them. I can’t work to schedules, I can’t attend certain events with Jude, etc. BUT if you have a close friend then keep hold of them. It’s so important to have someone on your side.
- Visit the hair salon and get a re-style. You know it’s been waaaay longer than you wanted it to be since your last snip.
- Sleep. A little nap does the world of good.
- Gardening! An hour at our allotment makes me feel so much happier. It’s an amazing way to boost your endorphins.
- Have a bath. Absolutely full of bubbles, up to the brim with water and just relax. Bliss.
- Phone someone you don’t see very often. Catch up on all the goss.
- Yoga. Doesn’t have to be an hour but fitting yoga into your life can have so many benefits.
- Bake a cake! I have a love/hate relationship with baking. I think my expectations are always pretty high (damn you Pinterest) but the reality is never quite so spectacular. It’s fun though. And you end up with cake 🙂
- Watch tv. An hour of a series that you’ve been dying to watch – it’ll feel wonderful to actually relax on the couch for once. Knowing everyone is fine.
- Admin chores – for me, this is filing paperwork. I’m terrible with it. Any admin crap that you never get around to – reading old emails perhaps?
- Write a short story. If you love a bit of creativity then put pen to paper (ok, finger tips to keyboard) and see how far you get.
- Arrange your wardrobe. Mine is an embarrassment – there’s stuff in there that’s older than Jude. Use your hour to discover things you didn’t even know you owned.
- Go to your favourite restaurant for lunch with a friend/your parents.
- Start a project that you can tend to during just your respite time. Knitting? Painting? There’s a relaxing hobby out there for everyone.
So there you have it. Twenty possible things to do in one hour.
If you had an hour to yourself, what would you choose to do?