Nearly one in five (19 percent) American adults provides unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. What’s more, 23 percent of these adults say caregiving has taken a toll on their own health. (Caregiving in the U.S. 2020)
The demands of caring for a loved one can put care providers at risk of burnout and of developing mental, emotional and physical health issues. But respite care can help.
Respite care offers a temporary break from caregiving. Although other family members or friends may provide occasional help, many caregivers turn to a qualified and trained professional, especially if the person receiving care has special medical needs. Respite care can be offered in various settings, including at home or in specialized facilities.
Benefits of Respite Care
Hiring a respite care provider for your loved one has many advantages, including:
Preventing burnout. To be an effective caregiver, it’s important to take care of your own health. Unfortunately, caregivers often devote all their time and energy to their loved ones and neglect their own well-being. This can lead to burnout, leaving the caregiver physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. Respite care gives caregivers time to take a break, recharge and address their own needs.
Maintaining family relationships. Sometimes more than one family member is involved in caregiving, leaving little or no time for the family to enjoy time together without the stress and demands of caregiving. Respite care can help foster a healthier family dynamic and maintain strong bonds.
Keeping family caregivers healthy. In order to effectively care for their loved one, caregivers need to take care of their own health. Respite care enables them to schedule needed medical check-ups, engage in self-care activities and manage their own health needs.
Peace of mind. When you hire a trusted care provider, such as Just Like Family in Lebanon County, Pa., it reduces the stress and anxiety associated with relinquishing your caregiver responsibilities and allows you to take a break without worry
Types of Respite Care
Depending upon your loved one’s needs and factors such as cost, there are various types of respite care to consider. Here are a few of them:
In-home respite care. A professional caregiver provides care in your loved one’s home. This allows the care recipient to remain in familiar surroundings and offers continuity of routine.
Adult day programs. These programs include supervised social interaction and activities in a group setting. They may not be an appropriate choice for those with medical needs requiring specialized care.
Short-term residential respite. Residential facilities that specialize in short-term respite care typically offer stays from a few days to several weeks. This is ideal if the caregiver is planning time away for a business trip or vacation. It offers a change of environment for the care recipient as well.
Emergency respite care. This option provides immediate, short-term care for unforeseen situations or emergencies.
How to Select a Respite Care Provider
Here are a few important considerations in selecting the best respite care arrangement for you and your loved one:
- The needs of the person receiving care, including medical, social and emotional requirements.
- The reputation of providers in your area. Be sure to read reviews and ask for references from other clients.
- The experience and qualifications of the providers. Be sure the provider has the required training to handle your loved one’s specific needs, such as administering medication and helping with bathing and dressing.
- Understand the cost of services, what is covered and whether insurance or government programs may help with expenses.
- Choose a provider that communicates effectively and is willing to collaborate with you to ensure seamless transition of care.
- Inquire about the provider’s emergency procedures and how they handle unexpected situations.
Finally, trust your instincts. If something about a respite caregiver or facility doesn’t seem right, don’t second-guess yourself. You and your loved one need to be comfortable and satisfied with your choice.
If you need help locating respite care in your area, start with groups such as USAging and AARP, and tap into their local resources. Or search online to find senior care providers in your home area and find out what they offer. If you live in the Lebanon, Pa., area Just Like Family is a local firm known for outstanding in-home respite care that can help you with your decision.
Whether you’re looking to reduce your caregiving hours on a regular basis or just want to take a vacation, respite care offers options that can give you the help you need while offering safe and appropriate care for your loved one.