Taking care of your loved ones can be very challenging, especially while juggling work and other personal responsibilities. When caring for the senior in your family, sometimes you may find that you need to take a break for a few days or weeks. Respite care provides familial caregivers with professional help so they can attend to other responsibilities or even just take a break from caregiving for some time. Here’s everything you need to know about respite care.
What is respite care?
Respite care is professional care for seniors who need help on a short-term basis while their family or other primary caregivers are away or busy. The main factor that differentiates respite care from other forms of professional senior care is that it is done on a short-term basis. Typically respite care for elderly is for a few days at a time, but it can also be as short as just an afternoon. There are a few different types of respite care - you can find a provider to come to your house, take your loved one to residential healthcare center or assisted living center near you, or just drop them off at an adult community center for certain parts of the day.
Who should and shouldn’t use respite care?
Senior respite care is specifically designed for seniors who typically receive care for free from their families. Seniors who need respite care usually need help with basic tasks such as getting groceries, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. Respite care isn’t a substitute for long-term professional help. Seniors who need more help than your family can realistically provide should be moved into an assisted living facility that is designed to help them live the healthiest life possible.
What general services do respite care providers offer?
The services respite care providers offer may vary slightly depending on their certifications and specialties. However, generally they will offer help with important routine activities that seniors may struggle with, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, grooming and running errands. Respite care providers can help with both personal activities and household maintenance. Respite caregivers are also responsible for socializing with their patients and keeping them company, whether that’s just talking to them, engaging in one of their favorite hobbies with them, or showing them a fun new game or pastime. Respite care facilities can also take their patients around town to doctors’ appointments or to run other errands. Some respite care providers are also certified to offer medical care, such as providing medication or offering physical or mental therapy and rehabilitation. These providers tend to be connected to other medical facilities. It’s important to remember that not all respite care providers offer medical services, so caregivers need to check their certifications if they need this kind of assistance.
What type of respite care should I look for?
There are a few different types of respite care, so you’ll have to decide which one makes the most sense for you and your family. The first option for respite care is an at-home caregiver that comes over and helps with daily tasks. This typically makes the most sense if your loved one struggles with running errands and basic tasks in home, but doesn’t have too many medical challenges. It’s also a good option if they would be overwhelmed by being away from home, or if there isn’t a facility that provides respite care nearby. However, not everyone is comfortable having an unfamiliar caregiver in their home, particularly while they’re away.
If you’re not comfortable with having an at-home caregiver providing respite care to your senior, or your senior has challenging medical needs, it may make more sense for them to stay at a residential healthcare facility. These facilities are very comprehensive, so they’re ideal if your senior needs attention for a very specific medical condition. These facilities are particularly helpful if your senior is struggling with any form of dementia and needs to stay in a dementia care home while you are away. Another option available outside the home is a senior day center. This is a good option if you’d prefer your senior receive care outside the home, but they don’t need advanced medical help. Senior day centers give your loved one the opportunity to socialize with others and enjoy enriching activities, and they’ll also provide meals. If you’ll be home at night to help with your senior, but just need someone to care for them during the day, this type of facility is a good choice.
How much does respite care cost?
One of the most daunting things about finding care for the senior in your life is the cost. Many people choose to care for their seniors at home instead of moving them into a facility mainly because they can’t afford to spend the extra money. Knowing the costs of respite care ahead of time and having some money put aside for it can help lessen the stress of paying for professional senior care.
Different providers charge their own rates for respite care, so be sure to check with the individual provider to determine exactly how much you’ll need to pay. For example, some providers charge by the hour, while others charge by the day. Some medical respite care providers will accept insurance, but many plans don’t cover it. Medicare and Medicaid may cover a partial amount of respite care costs, but you should still plan to pay for the majority of respite care yourself. Many respite care providers offer assistance or payment plans if you can’t pay for care up front. Be sure to ask about payment assistance when booking a respite care plan - this can make a big difference when it comes to the amount and quality of care you can afford.
What should I look for in a respite care provider?
There are many factors to consider when looking for a respite care provider. The first and most important is their qualifications. Whether you are looking at an at-home caregiver or a facility for respite care, they should have training and experience in the field of caregiving. If you’re looking for medical respite care, you should also make sure that your provider is medically certified and has experience in the kind of care you need. This is particularly important if your senior struggles with a serious medical condition.
The next thing you should take into consideration is how comfortable your loved one will be in respite care. Although the change in routine can be a little stressful, in general your senior should still be able to relax and enjoy daily activities the same way they normally would, even when they are in respite care. If you’re working with an in-home short-term care provider, make sure your senior gets to meet them ahead of time and that they feel comfortable spending time with them. If you’re taking them to a senior facility to receive respite care, the facility should be a welcoming place where patients can relax and enjoy their favorite hobbies. It’s also a benefit if the facility has social activities where your loved one can make friends and enjoy the company of others. This will make their time in respite care more enjoyable, and they’ll be less likely to miss you or feel lonely.
Another thing to consider when looking for short-term care is how convenient it is for you as a family member. Since the purpose of respite care is to relieve you of your regular caretaking duties, you’ll want to avoid having to make a long time to drop your senior off or work with someone who has a difficult schedule. A good respite care provider will work with your schedule and be convenient to get to. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to stress about how your senior is doing while you’re at work or on vacation. You’ll also want to look for someone who will work with your budget, either by taking your insurance or offering payment plans if you need them. Many providers understand that senior care is a large expense, and are willing to be flexible and offer payment solutions for those that need them.
What are the benefits of using a respite care provider?
There are many benefits to using a respite care provider to manage your senior’s day to day shot-term care needs. The first is that it allows you to still remain their primary caregiver, but have extra support available as needed. Many people find that it’s hard for them to fit a full-time care provider into their budget, but they sometimes need to take breaks to handle other problems or go on vacation. A respite care provider allows you to have control of when you need extra care and when you don’t.
Another great benefit of using a respite care provider is that they specialize in elder care, so they are completely qualified and equipped to manage your senior’s needs. It can be a little nerve-wracking to leave your loved one with someone you don’t know, but respite care providers specialize in making their clients feel comfortable and supported. They customize their services to fit their patient’s needs, so they can offer just light help with managing things around the house and keeping your senior company, all the way to helping them with their day-to-day tasks. Respite care providers will help keep your senior safe and comfortable.
A good benefit of using a respite care provider over a full-time provider is that it allows your senior to maintain their normal schedule, particularly if you are using an at-home respite care provider. It can be very overwhelming to disrupt your entire day-to-day routine, particularly for seniors who struggle with memory conditions such as dementia. Routine can be very helpful when dealing with these conditions, and so respite care providers are incredibly helpful in this situation.
What are the disadvantages to using respite care?
There are some potential disadvantages to using respite care that are important to be conscious of. The biggest thing to note is that respite care providers are not a substitute for full-time care if you really need it. If you find that you cannot handle all of your senior’s needs on your own, it’s important to set them up with full-time care to keep them healthy. The other big disadvantage is that some respite care providers are limited in the services they can provide. For example, some respite care providers aren’t able to provide assistance with medical services such as administering medication. Some senior day centers also are limited in the activities they offer for seniors.
How can I find respite care near me?
There are so many different types of providers of respite care, so it may take some time to find one near you that works well for your needs. There are many online directories that list providers of respite care, so those are great resources if you’re not sure where to start. You can also contact your doctor or insurance provider if you are interested in respite care that offers medical services as well. They can provide you a list of caregivers that may accept insurance or at least fit the bill for what you’re looking for.
Beyond these initial resources, there are many other places to look for respite care. If you’re interested in at-home respite care, look for companies that provide in-home caregiving in general, and ask about short-term contracts. Ideally, you should have the opportunity to interview your potential caregiver before making the decision. You can also contact local senior centers or senior living communities near you to see if they offer temporary respite care. Many of these places will offer respite care services but may not market them prominently, so it’s always helpful to ask. Many local community centers and religious organizations will also offer temporary respite care. These programs tend to be better for more active seniors who need social engagement throughout the day, as opposed to needed extensive help with basic activities.
It can be difficult to care for your senior entirely on your own, so don’t hesitate to contact a respite care facility for help when you need it. A good respite care provider will made it easy for you to take a break from your routine without stress. Your senior deserves high-quality care, and a respite care provider will be able to support them as necessary.