Everyone needs a break—especially family caregivers. Whether caring for a spouse, an aging parent, or your own child, it’s important to take time for yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, isolated, or overwhelmed, you may benefit from respite care.
What is Respite Care?
“Respite Care” is a service that provides caregivers a temporary break from the duties of caregiving by allowing another responsible individual (or individuals) to care for their loved one on a short-term basis. Typically, care is provided at a different location other than the person’s home for a period of time from a few hours up to several days, depending on the need and circumstances. This allows you, the caregiver, to recharge your batteries while your loved one continues to receive care in a safe environment.
Many caregivers use respite care to rest, relax and catch up on sleep, spend quality time with friends and family, or take time for activities like exercising, shopping, personal care, and other errands.
Respite care also provides a positive experience for the person receiving care. Your loved one may benefit from being in a new environment and spending time with other people.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a very significant issue in our society today. According to statistics provided by the National Caregiver Alliance and AARP, approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. These individuals may be suffering from any number of issues, including Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s, or any host of chronic illnesses.
Below are some symptoms of “Caregiver Burnout:”
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
- Changes in appetite, weight, or both
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Getting sick more often
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications
Where Does Respite Care Take Place?
Based on the condition and needs of the patient, as well as the length of stay, there could be several options for respite care locations. An interim solution may be needed for anything from a few hours to a few weeks.
- In the home
- At specialized daycare centers
- In nursing homes that offer short-term stays
In-home respite care can be beneficial for some with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who get anxious with change. The respite care provider can ensure that the routine stays consistent to help keep the resident calm. Minimal disruption to their environment increases the chances of a smooth adjustment.
Specialized daycare centers, like Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E, can offer fun activities and a chance to socialize. For those who have limited opportunities to get out of the house, this can be a welcome change.
Some of the advantages of in-facility senior respite care are that they may get more social interaction than they normally would if they are not taking advantage of the Day Center. In-facility would also allow for overnight supervision in the event the caregiver has to leave town. Peace of mind is accomplished for both the participant and caregiver in those types of situations that arise that would normally cause undue anxiety.
Who Needs Respite Services?
Patients who require around-the-clock supervision need respite care when the primary caregiver is not available. Reasons can vary from age-related disorders to degenerative disease to a serious accident or injury. Respite care services may be provided for patients with:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain injury
Specialized hospice care may also be needed when caregivers need to take time to rest and regroup. End of life care can include comforting friends and family, companionship for the hospice patient, bathing, light household care, and meal preparation.
What Services Does Senior Respite Care Provide?
Besides providing opportunities for social interaction, respite care can offer some or all of the same care that the patient would receive from their caregiver. Some older adults may only need help to keep them steady when moving around to prevent falls or for personal hygiene tasks. Others may need medication management or assistance with eating or drinking.
Even dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can benefit from exercise and social interaction. A supervised trip outside for exercise can be beneficial for their health and their emotional well-being. Socializing may also slow cognitive deterioration.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or feel you or your loved one can benefit from respite care, contact your Senior Care Partners Medical Social Worker to discuss the possibility of respite care.
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