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What Does Respite Care Mean?

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Elder lady and young woman holding hands

By definition, respite care is the planned or emergency care to provide relief to the regular caregiver of an adult (or child).

But it’s so much more than that. 

Respite Care can provide a much-needed break to a caregiver. Taking care of your aging family member can be emotionally and physically taxing. Our parents take care of us their whole lives, so when it comes time to return the favor, children of aging adults often step up.

Caregiving Responsibilities

The amount of responsibilities a primary caregiver has depends entirely on the situation. No two individuals will need the same care. 

The level of care varies from occasional assistance at the aging individual’s home to them moving in with their younger children for a full-time experience. 

Minimal care might look like this: You go grocery shopping and take out the trash and recycling for your parents once a week, and check in regularly to make sure they don’t need anything at home. Maybe you mow their grass and shovel snow as needed, and do some light cleaning.

More intensive care could include having your parents move in with you. You cook for them, do their laundry, and take care of some (or all) personal hygiene needs like showering and toileting. 

How much care you provide is unique to your situation. 

Who Needs Respite Care?

Caregiving isn’t easy, and it can take up a lot of your physical and mental health. It’s a job, and sometimes you just need some “time off.”

Planned Respite Care

Some senior living communities provide respite care where they will ensure your loved one is comfortable and their daily needs are being met.

Short stays give the primary care provider a break, and can also help transition someone who is heading home from a stay at the hospital or rehabilitation center. 

Short-term respite care can also give prospective residents a glimpse into life in a senior living community.

Planned Respite Care is Perfect If You…

  • Are planning a vacation for yourself
  • Need a short break for your health
  • Are returning from the hospital or rehab
  • Want to see what community living is like

There’s no shame in taking a break from caregiving for your own wellbeing. After all, many people do this job professionally, and they have annual vacations. So, it’s important to take care of yourself as well!

Emergency Respite Care

Not everything in life goes according to plan. If you fall ill while taking care of your loved one, or if they suddenly need more assistance than you can provide, emergency respite care is available.

These aren’t fun conversations to have, but if your home were impacted by a fire or natural disaster tomorrow, what would you do? Having a plan in place could help make an emergency situation easier to navigate.

Nurse helping senior woman as they walk together.

What’s Included?

Respite care at senior living communities includes all of the essential care your loved one needs and all of the events and activities offered in the community. 

Senior living communities dedicate 100% of their time and energy to the comfort of their residents, so your loved one will feel right at home (or better!). 

Services Often Offered:

  • Delicious home-style meals
  • Engaging & unique activities
  • Onsite 24-hour medical care
  • Individual wellness service plans
  • Housekeeping & linen services
  • Medication management
  • Regular health assessments
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Support groups & specially trained staff

Experiencing senior living communities during respite care could help initiate the discussion for making a permanent change.

The Next Steps: Organizing Respite Care

Planning your respite care is simple. Many senior living communities offer the service, so it’s just a matter of finding the one you like best. 

Creating a plan ahead of time will ensure your loved one is comfortable and feels prepared to make the temporary stay. You will meet with the care provider to review the needs of your loved one.

To see the community and learn about the services we offer, you can schedule a tour or give us a call.

Sampling The Lifestyle

If organizing respite care is part of your plan to see what senior living would be like in the longer term, you can talk to your loved one about it. 

The best way to start any conversation is with openness and honesty, but you might want to do some research ahead of time. Not everyone is ready to move into community living, and the conversation may be challenging.

Despite the difficulty, delaying the process can complicate life in the future. Coming up with a plan will be the healthiest way to ensure everyone is happy and comfortable. 

Checking out senior living communities through respite care can be a great way to get a taste of the lifestyle and pick the best future for your loved one.

Challenging Changes

Just because someone moves into senior living, does not mean they are alone. Many seniors make new friends and take up new hobbies when they take this leap. In a senior living community, they can start leading a more active life with like-minded people. 

Family and friends are welcome to visit. Depending on their situation, your loved ones could be able to leave the community at their leisure. Many seniors continue to drive and are active members of the community outside of their lodging.

Respite Care is There For You

Whatever your reasons are for planning respite care, know that you and your loved one both deserve a break and a plan in case of emergencies. 

Whether your loved one is mostly independent or needs extra care, respite care is there for you when you need it. 

Written by Butler Street Senior Living

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