Respite care has many meanings to different people. In general respite care is providing some amount of temporary relief to a caregiver who is overworked or over stressed. Although respite care can be provided in a facility if needed, it usually happens in a private home. It is true that many family caregivers mistakenly try to overextend themselves without obtaining enough back up and support for their own physical and emotional health needs. Many family caregivers are elderly themselves and or are working full time jobs and have their own families to take care of in addition to caring for their loved one. Moreover, many adult child caregivers, sons and daughters, are faced with additional hurdles of dealing with their parents increased paranoia which often occurs when the roles are reversed and the adult child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. In order for families to successfully care for a loved one at home, it takes many people to be involved to provide coverage during the day and night. When family caregivers work during the day they need to get enough sleep at night which can be difficult if you are waking up a few times at night to assist another person.
Respite provides a break for the family caregiver, which may prove beneficial to the health of the caregiver. 60% of family caregivers age 19-64 surveyed recently by the Commonwealth Fund reported fair or poor health, one or more chronic conditions, or a disability, compared with only 33% of non-caregivers. See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respite_care
It is difficult to find a facility where families feel comfortable leaving there loved one and often feel guilty about the separation. As a result, families try to compensate by hiring outside caregivers from agencies and often have additional stressors