GOOD to KNOW: What is Respite Care?

How often, as a caregiver, do we discontinue participating in activities or bring a halt to a family vacations due to care-giving responsibilities we face with our aging family member or friend? Respite care is a solution for many folks facing this issue.

When we think of respite care, many people think of the care for a young child, be it a babysitter or day care program. However, respite care can also be a beneficial aid for older adults and their caregivers.

Respite care is temporary, short-term supervised care provided to older adults with physical and or mental impairments. In general, people taking advantage of respite services are older adults that are limited inabilities to perform activities of daily living. More than 85% of these folks live with caregivers, who are either spouses or adult children. Although older adults are the direct recipients of respite care, the caregiver can find temporary periods of relief as well.

There are two common types of respite care for adults: adult daycare and assisted living respite care.

The advantages of Adult Day Care include peer group support and social interaction for the care receiver while the caregiver obtains a “break” from care-giving responsibilities at less cost than in-home services.

Assisted living advantages provide overnight and/or extended services. Assisted living facilities are supervised and professionally equipped to handle emergencies, which alleviate family anxiety about care during planned respite stays from either a short weekend or an extended vacation. Caregivers also use this type of respite on a trial basis before permanent placement.

An assessment at an assisted living facility is given to determine the level of care needed. Services include: wellness checks, dressing, grooming, bathing, medication administration, diabetic management and incontinence care. Additional services provided in a memory care unit might include meal observation reports, two-hour toileting, linens and personal laundry done on an as-needed basis.

Caregivers may be reticent to seek respite care support due to an imposing sense of obligation, guilt or they believe using formal services available in the community is a sign of failure. Some caregivers have even expressed respite services as “an end of the road situation” rather than preventative assistance.

The benefits of Respite Care encompass many areas: from helping maintain or enhance psychological and physical well being of the older adult & caregiver to reducing feelings of burden and stress. Even a short break from daily demands can help preserve a caregiver’s physical and emotional health. Benefits to the care receivers are often forgotten, but just as important. The care receiver finds a break from the routine, isolation or guilt that comes from being dependent on others.

Of course, there is a cost. However, there may be financial assistance available from federal and state-dependent care assistance plans. Be sure to check out the resources available in your area when considering respite care for your loved one.

For a free consultation, please contact BettyAnn at Roitenberg Assisted Living at 952-908-1776.