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What Is Short-term Respite Care?

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Respite Care Can Help

Caregiving is a 24-hour job. Whether the primary caregiver is a relative, a volunteer, or a professional, everyone needs a break. How long of a break you need can vary. Maybe you need a day, a week, or longer. Whatever the length or the reason, respite care can help.

Respite care can be available at home or in an assisted living residence. Although there are different types with distinct services, all types of respite care are short-term. Therefore, the respite care caregivers need depends on how much time they need and which services are available. 

Types of Respite Care

There are 3 main types of respite care: in-home respite care, adult day centers, and respite care facilities. The reason you need respite care can determine which type is best for your needs.

For example, many caregivers responsible for a loved one are volunteers. Over 40 million caregivers in the US are unpaid, with 90% of those caring for a relative. As a result, some caregivers may have a job and only need respite care during their work hours.

Although all respite care is short-term accommodation, there are different definitions of short-term. Some are ongoing but are only operational during day hours. To decide which is the most appropriate for your situation, here’s a breakdown of the 3 types.

In-Home Respite Care

In-home respite care offers relief for a primary caregiver, such as a family member, but without changing a senior’s routine. The secondary caregiver can be another relative or a paid professional. If another relative is temporarily taking over care duties, there is rarely a change in services. 

Alternatively, a secondary caregiver with professional skills can offer unique care services. For example, the caregiver may have specialized training or healthcare certification. Seniors may also need a secondary caregiver to temporarily replace a professional caregiver on vacation, ill, or away for personal reasons.

Respite care at home can be for a few days or much longer. For example, suppose a family member is the primary caregiver. In that case, respite care might be in place for a couple of days a week or customized for their schedule. Alternatively, primary caregivers may arrange respite care for late evenings or early mornings rather than the entire day.

Adult Day Centers

Seniors attending adult day centers or programs may visit for a few hours or a whole day. The availability and operational hours can vary, but most adult day centers are open Monday to Friday for 6–8 hours a day.

Adult day centers can offer a range of activities and services. For example, some can provide medical care or therapy. In addition, seniors can enjoy social activities, physical exercises, classes, and meals. Although personal care and medical services can be a significant benefit, the opportunity to engage with a community and socialize with friends is equally meaningful.

Some centers provide transportation to and from the center. Additionally, some may have local outings and will transport participants to and from the event. 

Respite Care Facilities

A respite care facility (or residential respite care) is short-term assisted living. Seniors stay overnight and are short-term residents with access to multiple services and amenities. Residential respite care can offer social activities, therapy services, or wellness programs. The types of services will differ with each facility, but some common options include:

  • Activities & entertainment
  • Housekeeping & linen services
  • Medication management
  • On-site medical services
  • 24-hour personal care staff 
  • Transportation services

Many facilities have 60-day minimum stays. However, some facilities, including All American Assisted Living, have 30-day minimum stays. The maximum can vary, so loved ones or primary caregivers should contact the facility for more details.

Short-term respite care can also be a trial run before choosing an assisted living home. Seniors have a chance to get to know the community and the lifestyle. Caregivers can see how their loved one adapts to the new environment and if they enjoy the activities and amenities.

It can also allow family caregivers time to research or schedule visits to prospective care homes. The caregiver knows their loved one is being cared for, so there’s less pressure to rush the decision.

Reasons for Respite Care

There are many reasons respite care can be beneficial. However, the main reason for respite care is to give caregivers a break. Whether they need time for themselves or to get to work, respite care gives them time. 

A caregiver may also need short-term care assistance while they deal with a time-sensitive matter or recover from illness. They may be fully capable of resuming full-time care but need support before getting back to normal. For example, they may catch a cold, have a business trip, or want to plan a vacation.

Another common reason for respite care is caregiver fatigue.

Caregiver Fatigue

Caregiver burnout or fatigue is when a caregiver experiences physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. They may be overwhelmed by how much care is needed or find their relationship strained (if they’re caring for a parent or loved one).

Respite care can allow primary caregivers time to rest, get help (professional or support group), or learn new coping methods.

Give Us a Call for Respite

Short-term respite care can be a chance to learn more about a care home or give caregivers a break. Whatever your reason for considering respite care, we’d love to give you a tour and introduce you to our community.

All American Living at Wrentham offers respite care and assisted living for seniors. Contact us today and talk to our staff about our first-rate senior living experience!

Written by kaplan

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