Respite care is substitute care when a caregiver needs a break. If possible, these breaks should be scheduled regularly, giving the caregiver time to rest. It can be for a short period like a day or a few hours or for giving the caregiver a vacation. Respite care is often overlooked. However, this type of care should be carefully considered when a family member makes the decision to become a caregiver for a loved one or when hiring a full-time caregiver for a senior. The emotional and physical stress of caregiving can cause illness, depression, and burnout. Many families focus only the details of caregiving and respite care is forgotten. Let’s look at some options for respite care that may help your family better plan for the caregiver and ultimately your loved one.
Help from Family or Friends
The most cost-effective respite care option is asking for help from family or friends. Family and friends are generally familiar with the needs of the senior and can provide adequate care in the absence of the primary caregiver. Using family members and friends is generally a low to no cost option for respite care. It is important to be flexible when asking family members or friends to help with respite care. Planning a schedule ahead of time for respite care can be very helpful for the caregiver and the friends and family who are willing to help. It may also be beneficial to create a list of willing people, especially for occasions when something unexpected occurs. Be sure to discuss this with the potential family and friends before adding them to the list. Then, you have multiple people that can be called on to help.
In-Home Care Services
Another option that is budget friendly for respite care is in-home care services. There are volunteer groups that have people who will provide respite care free of charge. Calling the local high school counselor may also provide names of mature, responsible students who would be able to provide respite care. Thinking of it as “elder sitting” instead of babysitting. Other agencies have caregivers that can be hired on an as-needed basis. These services generally cost $20 or more an hour depending on the type of service and the needs of the elderly person. In-home care services range from unskilled to skilled caregivers. Volunteers are often companion caregivers, while your loved one may need a home health aide or skilled care services in the absence of the primary caregiver.
Adult Day Centers
Adult day centers or adult daycare, as it is sometimes called, is a respite care option that can benefit the caregiver as well as the senior. These centers offer a safe environment where seniors and those with disabilities are supervised. Activities are planned to allow the senior to interact with others in a social setting and to exercise their minds and bodies. They provide other services and many offer door-to-door transportation. The cost of adult day centers varies and some may accept Medi-Cal.
Residential Care Facilities
Assisted living, nursing homes, and continuing care facilities may offer room and board services for senior adults who need a place to stay while caregivers take time away. This type of service works well because it affords peace of mind, knowing care is always close and the senior adult is safe. This can be appealing for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The cost of this service varies and is not available in every residential care facility. This type of respite care requires private pay.
Respite care may cause apprehension for families. For this reason, planning ahead and becoming familiar with your options is very important. Cost can be another factor that makes respite care difficult for families. However, this type of care is vital to the well-being of the family. It may take careful planning and research, but respite care is out there. Finally, many caregivers feel guilty if they aren’t doing it all. On the contrary, respite care recharges and revitalizes the caregiver and benefits the caregiver and their charge.
If you have any questions about something you have read or would like additional information, please contact me.