Caregivers tend to work long hours in mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding situations. Tending to a loved one who needs full time care undoubtedly takes its toll so respite care is not necessarily an option, but a much needed break to rejuvenate and refresh.
Respite care usually means that a senior is placed short term in a facility for some social time or to give their caregiver a break. It benefits both parties and should be an option that is seriously considered for their well-being.
Here are 5 things that you should weigh when you’re planning to use respite services:
1) Costs – Depending on the level of care and location of the facility, these services tend to average around $75 - $200 per day. Medicare does not cover this, but many long term care insurance policies or veterans’ programs may help with these costs.
2) Level of Care – Does your loved one need help walking, eating, or using the restroom? If so, they probably need experiences care. Are they able to exercise, do they like crafting, or is there a play they would like to attend? You may be able to sign them up for a senior’s activity that they will enjoy and will give you much needed “me time.”
3) Low Cost Options – Many seniors live on a limited income, so respite care may not seem like a possibility. How about recruiting a family member to help for the day? Maybe consider trading off days with another caregiver if your patient needs someone who is skilled in caring for the elderly. Some communities provide adult day centers for seniors to interact with others; research to see if there are some near you. You also may want to call local senior homes to see if your loved one can stay for a few hours instead of a full day for a lower rate (or if they know of a place that offers hourly care). Many times if a nursing home isn’t full, they are willing to do respite care for a few days or even weeks.
4) How to find in home respite care – Is your loved one unwilling to leave home to go to a senior assisted living facility even short term? There are in home respite caregivers available. There are many in home care agencies or referral services that can match you with the perfect caregiver. An excellent resource is NADSA (National Adult Day Services Association). On nadsa.org, they will direct you in your search for finding the right center to get your loved one involved in. They have a list of places to consider in your area, questions to ask, and qualities to look for.
5) You’re not alone – While respite care is a great way to care for the caregiver, it is only a short-lived solution. If you are a caregiver, there is additional help for you in this demanding role. You may want to look into the Administration on Aging’s website (aoa.gov) for great advice and a ton of support group links. This is a gold mine of data from current news stories to organizations focused on helping family members who are caregivers to finding out your loved one’s rights and benefits.
Connecting with a network of others who are living with the same challenges and experiences as you can provide a treasury of tips, encouragement, and camaraderie.