On Working Respite Care

Hey everyone, welcome back. I hope you’re all doing well and have enjoyed learning a bit more about me through my last few posts. In that same vein, I would like to continue by talking about what I do for a living, respite care. I have likely briefly touched on it in one or more of my previous posts, but I would like to take the time now to dive deeper into what it is and my thoughts on doing it.

To start with, a respite caregiver is a person who steps in for mom/dad/other legal guardian of either an elderly individual or in my case, those with special needs (Autism, Down Syndrome, etc…) needs a break from said kid/grown adult in order to get their own tasks done. Should the primary legal caregiver need a break in order to get work done, run errands or even workout stress without said kid being underfoot, that is where someone such as myself comes in, to play with said kid and keep them entertained/distracted for up to nine+ hours a day, depending if over time is approved.

Yes, I often do that (9 hours at least) with one of my clients in particular on the weekends. Does [redacted parent’s name here] not understand that just because I am a night owl, it doesn’t mean I enjoy working late nights (especially when I have to wake up early the next day)? I’ve tried talking to them about it, but they seem to always insist on the late hour so they can hang out with the person they are dating longer. Kind of rude, don’t you think? Hogging up one person’s time like that on a weekly basis? I guess it’s like college classes that way; You can either have them for a shorter time two/three days a week or a longer time once a week. Been there, done that, really hopped I’d never have to go back. Oh well, that’s life and reason why I’m glad I have this for therapy…at least until such a time I’m able to grow this to the point of quoting respite. Trust me, that time cannot come soon enough.

In the meantime, should anyone want to sponsor me either as an individual or company, please just either let me know in the comments down below or reach out to me on my Twitter @FAAPOV and I will get that set up.

Could I quit working for this family and go to another? Yes, and no. Yes I could, but no, I don’t want to take the risk of working for an even crazier family. It’s why whenever work does try to call me in for something else, I often say no, as I know my limits along with what I am and am not comfortable with. I mean, I will say yes and risk it from time to time, but more often than not I’m busy just trying to balance my own work/life schedule, let alone anything new on top of it. It often feels like my life is an upside down pyramid, one wrong move at any time, could cause it to come crashing down.

Returning to the topic of what a respite caregiver is, outside of or two days of basic orientation training this job does not require any special degrees or licenses. That means after signing up at your local caregiving facility, anyone willing can do it. Keep in mind though, this job is not for everyone. While yes, at least with the company I’m with you can design your own schedule and refuse any assignment no questions asked, the trade off is being on call all day. If the company notices there’s a hole in your schedule, chances are, they will try calling you at some point during the day (sometimes even during a shift with another client), to get you to work another respite case.

The above is one of the main reasons I’m looking to grow this and quit my respite job as soon as possible. While I know some people will likely be quick to talk about how rewarding this type of job is, I’m not one of them. Suffice it to say, I’m not much of a people person. Whether this is due to my autism or own personality, I don’t know nor really care. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy helping, but I also need to attempt to balance it with my own personal life. Every time my phone rings and I don’t recognize the number (as strangely the company calls and even texts from many different numbers), I dread it.

Like I said before, I honestly don’t mind helping out, but I also need time for me, not only to attempt to grow this, but also to get daily life tasks done, along with not losing my sanity from working too hard. Did that recently and long story short, lesson learned. Give myself more time off either during the day or at the end of the week in the form of one full day off, and take occasional weekend long breaks. One’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.

How to silently survive a literal mental breakdown at work, by me. Step 1) suck it up buttercup, as no one really cares. You’re at work and have a job to do. It’s not fair, but often what in life is? Step 2) have an amazing support structure to help you through it via some form of texts (be it actual texts or some form of social media private messaging-as not everyone needs to hear your issues). Step 3) get back to work and finish up as best you can, no matter how much time you have left. Step 4) collapse at home ignoring the fact that you have to do it all again several hours later.

Suffice it to say, we all have to do jobs we dislike at times, and the trick is simply having a great support structure to help you through until such a point a better opportunity comes along. Until that time happens for me, I’m Megan From an Autistic Point of View.

My most recent birthday in Downtown Disney. Thank goodness for days off from work. Would not be smiling behind my mask or at all, without them.

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