Q: Is there an ideal time off (respite) for caregivers that I can show my sisters to help my case for getting time off?

A: Ohhh, so sorry you are feeling so burned out and it sounds like unappreciated too! You know, I have never seen an official "Required Respite Time" statistic because of course there are so many factors and it's very individual, but I would boil the need for respite down to this: As often as needed!

Getting respite was also the big problem I had during my caregiving, as I was so overwhelmed and burned out with two parents needing fulltime care at home—and I didn't have two sisters I could call up and beg to relieve me. I think you have to put your foot down with your sisters and get a plan in place that works for YOU—whatever your level of respite need is. And aren't they lucky to have a devoted sister who is willing to be the primary caregiver. Be sure to remind them for me that if you go down, they will have to step up and share fulltime caregiving—so they better be thankful and grateful for you!

Also, please get your mom enrolled in Adult Day Care, as that will be such a blessing for her and will also give you several hours of respite each time. I wish I had gotten my parents enrolled sooner—it was so helpful! My father was a sun-downer, meaning he slept all day and would be up all night. And of course, Mom was the opposite, meaning I was up most of the time. I just couldn't turn Dad around until I got them into Adult Day Health Care (they had early Alzheimer's), and then they were busy all day with fun activities and they both sleep through the night. To locate one, contact the National Adult Day Services Association at www.NADSA.org. I am such a huge advocate for Adult Day Care, they gave me their "Media Award" a few years ago.

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