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It is most important for caregivers to plan ahead for using respite care. For respite to be most beneficial, you should consider respite services much earlier than you think you will need them. Respite will be most helpful if you use it before you become exhausted, isolated, and overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Respite services can be beneficial, meaningful, and enjoyable to both the caregiver and the care recipient.

  • Family caregivers need to have sufficient and regular amounts of respite time. Give careful thought to how you want to spend your respite time. Respite needs to be meaningful and purposeful for caregivers to fulfill their needs and plans, as well as safe and enjoyable for the care receiver.
  • Respite is most effective when combined with other services and assistance, but don't wait to take your break. You may also benefit from additional financial support, education, emotional and social support that provide a sense of belonging with others, but before you can seek out those services, respite will give you a chance to step back and recharge.

To assess your own need for respite and to ensure that you are making the most of your respite time, see Time for Living and Caring: Making Respite Services Work for You!

The VA also provides a respite planning tool for caregivers of Veterans.Ā  This tool may be useful to all family caregivers.

Sometimes, you may need respite in emergencies to deal with a personal health crisis, housing or job loss, or other immediate situation that might put the care recipient in harms way. For children, this type of respite may be called a "Crisis Nursery". Emergency or crisis respite may be more difficult to find, so planning for emergencies is critical.Ā  Familiarize yourself with providers who might offer emergency respite or consider registering in advance with such providers. Both emergency and planned respites are critical resources for caregivers who are caring for a disabled child, adult, or older individual.

Below you will find the LifeCourse Tools for Respite and related resources to help you plan for respite.

LifeCourse Tools for Respite

Charting the LifeCourse Nexus housed at the at the University of Missouriā€“Kansas City Institute for Human Development, in collaboration with the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, developed Charting the LifeCourse Respite materials. The materials include a Respite guide book, portfolio and other tools meant to help family caregivers caring for anyone of any age or disability and those who support them create a plan to access respite services within and outside the formal services system.

The purposes are to provide:

  • information on the importance of respite for the well-being of the family caregiver and all family members;
  • tools for thinking about and planning for respite; and
  • additional resources for finding respite in the community.

It is important for caregivers and their families to make a plan to incorporate respite into their lives long before exhaustion, isolation and feelings of being overwhelmed have set in. Advanced planning also allows for respite to be customized to meet the unique needs of the family members and provide enjoyable and meaningful experiences for everyone.

Read more about the tools and how to use them on the Charting the LifeCourse Nexus website.

Charting the LifeCourse: Respite Guide

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – Respite Guide The Respite Guide and accompanying toolkit are intended for anyone in a family or relationship that is providing the majority of care or support…

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Exploring Respite Opportunities & Options

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LifeCourse Respite Tool Charting the LifeCourse Nexus housed at the at the University of Missouriā€“Kansas City Institute for Human Development, in collaboration with the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource…

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – Integrated Respite Schedule

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – Integrated Respite Schedule You and your loved one have worked hard to make plans for successful respite and identify resources that can help you reach your…

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – Integrated Support Star

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – Integrated Support Star This tool helps you think through and identify how and where to find respite opportunities and services. Completing the star will help you…

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LifeCourse Respite Tool: Trajectory for Respite

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Trajectory for Respite Good respite planning starts with a clear vision for a good life and for a good respite experience. Having a vision of what good respite looks like…

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My LifeCourse Respite Portfolio

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LifeCourse Respite Tool – My LifeCourse Respite Portfolio The LifeCourse Respite Portfolio is a set of tools to help you make a plan for respite. The Charting the LifeCoure Respite…

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Webinar on Charting the LifeCourse for Respite During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The LifeCourse Respite Tools were developed by the Charting the LifeCourse Nexus at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Institute for Human Development in collaboration with ARCH to help…

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Webinar on Charting the LifeCourse Respite Tools

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The aim of this webinar is to show you how to make the best use of the Charting the LifeCourse Respite Tools. Learn about a new resource, Exploring Respite Opportunities…

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Webinar: Charting the LifeCourse Tools for Respite – Examples from State Lifespan Respite Care Programs

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Charting the LifeCourse Tools for Respite: Examples from State Lifespan Respite Care Programs During this virtual presentation at the Charting the LifeCourse Showcase on April 13, 2022, an overview of…

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