By: Arlinda Babcock

What is “Respite Care” and why is it needed?

People generally think of respite care as a short term care arrangement for the person who needs care. Guess what? Both care-takers and care-givers need respite! One of the most difficult things for a care provider to do who is a family member or spouse, is take time off for themselves. For this type of caregiver, it can be difficult just to get chores and errands done, never mind taking a vacation. Most of us feel stress when we have many things on our plate, and they keep piling up, and we can’t find the time to get them done. Stress, as we all know, is detrimental to our health, and if we are not healthy, how can we care for another? As a caregiver, you should not feel guilty about getting respite care for your loved one.

Respite care, by definition, is a short term arrangement to provide care. Respite care can be provided in many ways. Asking friends or family to come stay for a period of time is one form of respite care, which may just be for a short time such as an hour or few hours, even a few days or longer.

Respite care can also be provided by a senior living facility that is in the business of providing care. There is generally an intake process where the person needing care is evaluated by a nurse. This process, called an assessment, gathers information about medical condition, medications, allergies, food and eating patterns and issues, possible memory care and security needed, as well as the specific requirements, such as length of time needed for respite care.

Facility respite is usually charged at a day rate, and is generally for no more than 30 days at a time. If a caregiver is thinking about making a permanent living change for their senior, respite care can be a good way to try out a community and staff, as well as helping the senior make a transition from home to facility care without making a commitment to a permanent change. The respite guest is allowed to participate fully in meals, activities and entertainment, and has all of their care needs met, such as bathing, dressing, housekeeping and laundry, just as a permanent resident would have. Often a respite resident will make friends and decide they don’t want to return home because they’re enjoying the social aspects of a larger community.

If you are a caregiver, consider respite care, and take care of yourself as well!