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Senior Respite Vacations

Jeff Anderson
By Jeff AndersonMay 8, 2019

Last Updated: May 8, 2019

If you speak with any family caregiver you will quickly learn how hard it can be to care for a senior loved one full time. Whether you’re caring for a parent or a spouse, the role is consistently difficult and caregivers can use senior respite vacations to help themselves avoid becoming exhausted and overwhelmed by their most difficult tasks.

Learn more about senior respite vacations for caregivers and the ways that you can arrange for one.

Caregivers Need Breaks Too

According to the Centers for Disease Control, caregivers often pay a high toll for their labor of love:

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  • 35% of caregivers have difficulty finding time for themselves
  • 29% experience emotional and physical stress from their role
  • 54% said their health has gotten worse due to caregiving
  • 29% have difficulty balancing family and work responsibilities

Is it any wonder that sometimes caregivers just need a break?

How Senior Respite Vacations Can Help

Many caregivers aren’t aware that assisted living communities offer short-term overnight stays for seniors who need assistance with daily living. This service, called respite care, allows caregivers to have some much-needed alone-time without worrying about their senior loved one’s well-being.

Caregivers often use the time that respite vacations give them to avoid becoming burned out. Whether it’s a “stay-cation” or resort giveaway, these breaks can be immensely refreshing. The National Respite Network recommends that caregivers consider respite care before they become overly stressed or tired:

“To be most effective, you should use 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 or overwhelmed by your responsibilities.”

For example, Gail Bishop who used respite services for her mother at Benton House, a community in the Atlanta area, said, “Respite benefits me a great deal. I wouldn’t be able to go out of town without it. I don’t have any family who lives near me so I need someone to care for Mom.”

In addition to providing worn-out caregivers a respite vacation, this time can also serve a number of other purposes. It’s often a godsend for families when:

  • The primary caregiver falls ill
  • There is extreme weather
  • Urgent business or family travel is required

Additionally, families and seniors can use respite services as an opportunity to try communities they are considering without making a long-term commitment. Respite stays can help them identify communities that might be a good fit for their loved one if assisted living becomes necessary down the road.

Ways to Arrange Respite Care

According to an AARP and National Alliance of Caregiving study, only 12% of caregivers ever take advantage of respite care services. This is an unfortunate statistic considering the strain of caregiving.

One factor may be that some caregivers are reluctant to admit that they could use a break.

Arranging respite care for a loved one does take some preparation, but providers strive to make the process as smooth as possible.

Julia Banks, regional director of community relations for Principal Senior Living says that Principal communities “provide a package to the family with a checklist and we will assist to get any needed medical information… This information is generally easy to obtain and we can get someone in the community for an overnight stay very quickly.”

It’s ideal for families to contact the community at least one week before the respite stay, but in emergency circumstances respite can be set up on the same day assuming the community has availability. Banks states, “We often do emergency move-ins from local hospitals and rehabs all in the same day.”

Looking for more information about respite vacations? A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors have extensive knowledge of respite providers in the areas they serve and can provide personal guidance to families who are researching respite care.

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