By Tara Geraci, Certified Concierge Care Advisor at Concierge Care Advisors
I often help families that are looking for temporary help for a variety of reasons. I’d like to share some specific examples of those situations. I think you’ll find some useful tips here on the benefits and uses of respite care.
Transition from hospital/skilled nursing to home: Many times, my clients will be discharged from the hospital or a skilled nursing facility and they are not strong enough or capable of going home just yet. In this situation, the senior will discharge directly to an assisted living community or adult family home and have help with meals, cleaning, transportation and all other medical assistance they still need, yet are not able to do on their own yet. They also typically continue with physical therapy and occupational therapy at this community/home. After a month or two they are much stronger and fully recovered, and capable of going back home and living independently.
Trial basis: Many seniors are very resistant to a transition to a community or home, and respite gives them an opportunity to try it out before committing to the move. At a community there is no upfront fee when coming in as respite. There is also no moving required for either an adult family home or a community as both options are fully furnished with a respite room. I call this the baby step approach for a senior who is resistant to any type of transition. This approach can be a great compromise with both the client and their loves ones. It’s certainly not the preferred method for most families, but if a senior is in crisis and absolutely refuses to move after every strategy has been applied, the respite approach gets them to a safe place with a high likelihood of becoming a permanent resident.
Vacation: I’ve had clients who are the primary care givers (typically a spouse) who have vacations planned and need care for their loved one. The senior who needs care can continue to receive assistance while enjoying great food and some socialization during their stay. It’s also typically a break that is desperately needed for the loved one providing the care, giving them time to recover and rejuvenate themselves.
Medical procedure: Some seniors have an upcoming surgery or procedure that will require help during their recovery. A respite stay can provide all the care they need on a short-term basis until they are fully recovered and capable of going back home. It’s much less expensive than hiring in-home care and provides 24/7 care with the added advantage of some fun and socialization.
Senior vacation option: This is a little known secret for seniors that are traveling to see family and have a long term stay planned. I will share an example of a client I helped. Margie is 88 years old and lives independently in Florida in an over-55 condominium. Each year she flies to the Olympia area to see her son and the family for more than a month. She knows that someday she will be moving to the area to be closer to her son and wants to experience the different assisted living options in the area. She also wants her privacy and the ability to come and go but readily available for her son and all the family events planned in the summer. Included in her respite stay is any care she may need, 3 meals a day, transportation, free laundry room, plenty of social activities and outings in a fully furnished room where she just brings her clothes. And here is the little secret, this is at a fraction of the cost she would be paying for a hotel and meals. Her assessment was done by an agency in Florida and she was all ready to go when she arrived to the community. It’s a brilliant idea and so many benefits of taking advantage of the respite stay option.