Respite care is vital to a family caregiver's well-being. Not only does taking a break help a caregiver alleviate stress and recharge physically, mentally and emotionally, it can also make them a better caregiver.
Respite Care Share was conceived during OpenIDEO's End-of-Life Care Challenge in 2016.
After conducting a survey with dementia caregivers on the Respite Care Share concept, I found a general reluctance to take traditional respite care (taken away from the home for a weekend or more) because it's too disruptive. Dementia caregivers are reluctant to leave their loved one, and those with dementia thrive on routine.
I researched ways to offer dementia caregivers mini-respites: reading a book at a coffee shop, getting a massage, enjoying a leisurely lunch, etc. as more feasible options for family caregivers to take a break.
From that research, I created a prototype: care bags. These care bags included gift cards to mini-respite venues: a restaurant, coffee shop, a spa. The care bags also included a thank-you care and a book of inspirational stories about caregiving.
I distributed the care bags to members of a caregiver support group that meets at a dementia cafe. The bags included a survey, and the feedback I received was very positive. Based upon the successful prototype, I believe shorter forms of respite will be more utilized by dementia caregivers, while still being beneficial.
Read more about how Respite Care Share has evolved since the OpenIDEO challenge.