Caregivers put their heart and soul into their work, and this is part of what makes every caregiving story unique. But all caregivers deserve some help or even the chance to step away from time to time. Respite care, whether provided in your home or through a short-term stay at a senior living community, can be the perfect help or break. In-home respite care can help keep caregiver fatigue and burnout at bay, and there are other out-of-home arrangements, too. If you’re curious and want to know your local options, you can even try home respite care before you have an urgent need. Planning ahead will help you and your aging family member know you have a trusted option when the time comes.
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 by a home care worker, such as a certified nursing assistant, or through a short-term stay at a senior living community. Medicare may cover respite care in some cases. 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 (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and transportation. Some people also use respite care to recover after a medical procedure or hospital stay.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup, and respite care can be a gift to everyone involved,” says Brenda Gurung, a former senior national account manager at A Place for Mom and founder of Be Growth Dementia Education. “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.”
Read related article:The Worrying Facts About Caregiver Health and Stress
Many people don’t realize that their nearby senior living communities may offer short-term respite care. This helpful option means you can get the temporary help you need without your loved one having to fully move into a senior living community.
Senior living communities with successful respite care programs provide their short-term residents the same level of care and attention as their full-time seniors. During a short-term stay at an assisted living facility, your loved one will:
Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.
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 the necessary paperwork, reserve the services your loved one requires, pack their items, and understand the community’s medication policies.
Here are some tips for booking a short-term respite stay:
In-home respite care typically covers a variety of nonmedical 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 ADLs such as eating, bathing, and toileting. These caregivers can sometimes also assist with running errands and transporting your loved one to appointments.
If your loved one needs a higher level of care, you may need to search for a home health care aide who can provide actual medical support. These professionals have more advanced medical training and are typically certified to provide more complex care. This level of care may be necessary if your loved one needs injections administered or a catheter changed.
In some states, a home health care aide can help administer medications directly. In others, they can set up the medication or offer reminders to your loved one. If you’re unable to find the right aide, or if your state doesn’t allow necessary medication administration, nursing home respite care may be a better fit.
Depending on where you live, respite care may also be offered through the following:
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help cover the costs of respite care. Here are some financial assistance options:
You’re not alone, and support is closer than you think. Our Senior Living Advisors can offer guidance on in-home care respite options, and they can point you to senior living communities that provide respite care — all at no cost to your family.
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
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