Everyone’s caregiving story is different. But what many caregivers share is the need for help and relief from time to time to ensure their overall well-being. Respite care — whether provided in your home or through a short-term stay at a senior living community — is a way to help prevent caregiver fatigue and burnout while maintaining a high quality of life for your loved one.
It’s a good idea to know your local options and even try out respite care before you need it. Planning ahead helps you and your aging family member know you have a trusted option for care when you need time off or must deal with an emergency.
Respite care provides you temporary relief from your caregiving duties when you need a break or extra support. While someone else cares for your elder family member, you can travel, run errands, visit friends, go to the doctor, or simply relax. Respite care can be provided in your home or through a short-term stay at a senior living community. When provided in senior communities, respite care may also be called short-term care or short-term assisted living.
No matter where it’s provided, respite care services typically include assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and transportation. Some people also use respite care to allow continued recuperation after a rehabilitation stay.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup, and respite care can be a gift to everyone involved,” says Brenda Gurung, a senior national account manager at A Place for Mom. “It’s an opportunity for the family caregiver to rejuvenate and for a senior to spread their wings in a new setting of care, support, and empowerment.”
Many people don’t realize that many of their nearby senior living communities likely offer short-term respite care. And, your loved one doesn’t need to move into a senior living community to get the temporary help you need.
Senior living communities with successful respite care programs often create a comprehensive plan to help ensure the best care for their short-term residents. During a short-term stay at an assisted living facility, your loved one will:
Scheduling respite care is only a click or call away, but it’s important to research and plan well ahead before booking the care you need. Be sure to give yourself time to fill out necessary paperwork, reserve the services your loved one requires, pack their items, and understand the community’s medication distribution process. Be sure you also do the following:
In-home respite care typically covers a variety of non-medical services for your loved one while giving you the break you need. Most in-home respite care professionals are trained to help your aging loved one with basic daily living activities such as eating, bathing, and toileting. These caregivers can sometimes also assist with transporting your loved one to appointments and running errands.
If your loved one needs a higher level of care, you may need to search for a home healthcare aide. These professionals have more advanced medical training and can be certified to provide more complex care. This level of care may be necessary if your loved one needs medication management.
Home care services are typically billed hourly, and you should be able to book home care around your schedule — for example, if three days is all you need, make that known. If you need more assistance, just ask — a quality in-home respite care provider should be able to accommodate your needs.
Depending on where you live, respite care may also be offered through the following:
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help cover the costs of respite care:
Contact our Senior Living Advisors to learn more about senior living communities that provide respite care to families and caregivers.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
AARP. Family Caregiving: Care at Home.
National Cancer Institute. Supportive Care.
Supportive Care in Cancer. Concepts and definitions for “supportive care,” “best supportive care,” “palliative care,” and “hospice care” in the published literature, dictionaries, and textbooks.
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