Respite Care for the Elderly

  • What is respite care?

    Respite care allows a caregive to have a break from caring for their loved one 24/7. It gives the caregiver an opportunity to run their own errands, shop, attend doctor appointments, engage in social events, or rest.

  • What types of respite care are there?

    There are two types of respite care: in-home respite care and day centers.

    In-home respite care can be delivered either by a volunteer or a paid individual and allows the senior to remain in their own home while allowing the caregiver the ability to work outside the home as needed.

    Day centers vary from location to location and provide social interaction and connectedness that are vital to the elder’s mental health and wellbeing.

  • What services do day centers offer?

    The services may vary depending upon the location but can include meals, activities, exercise, arts and crafts, music, dance, entertainment opportunities, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, socialization, and transportation to and from the facility.

Respite Care allows the caretaker, an opportunity, to take a break from their 24/7 care of a loved one.  It allows the caretaker to run errands, shop, rest, attend doctor appointments and or engage in social events.  These are just a few benefits of respite care services.

Respite care has been shown to help reduce caregiver burnout and elder abuse.  It also helps to keep families from disintegrating from the added stressors associated with caring for a loved one at home.

Caring for a loved one is an emotionally and physically demanding and exhausting responsibility.  The addition of respite care provides a needed opportunity for healing and rejuvenation for the caregiver.  The caregiver can access respite care as they see fit.  Respite Care can be scheduled on an as needed bases.

Types of Respite Care

There are two sorts of respite care:

  • In-home care – This is care which can be delivered by a volunteer or paid individual(s). This type of respite care is set up by the family in order to help elevate the caregivers 24/7 responsibilities.  It also allows the loved one to remain in the home where they feel the most secure and comfortable.  It allows the caregiver to continue to work outside of the home if needed.  Respite care can be set up for a few hours a day, overnight care, weekday care or weekend care.   It all depends on what the family’s needs may be.
  • Day Centers – These types of respite care facilities vary from location to location. They provide social interaction for the elderly which is essential to their mental health.  It provides a social connectedness vital to their wellbeing.  Day Centers can be accessed for a few hours to all day depending on the needs of the family.

Types of Respite Services

In-Home services:

  • Companionship and social interaction are a key service performed by respite care. This is especially valuable if the elder is feeling isolated or lonely.  They might take the elder for a stroll around the neighborhood or property.  Respite caregivers can help do some light gardening or yard work, they can play games and put puzzles together with the elder.
  • Elder personal care can also be handled by a Respite caregiver. They can help with personal grooming, cooking, feeding and bathroom use.  The Respite caregiver can shop and prepare meals for the elder, along with doing the housework and laundry.
  • If there are medical needs, a Respite caregiver, with the appropriate credentials and medical training, can perform medical services within the home.

Day Center Services

  • Day centers provide meals, activities, exercise along with arts and crafts.
  • Most provide music/dance and entertainment opportunities.
  • They can provide PT, OT and Speech services.
  • They provide time for elders to socialize with their peers.
  • Centers may also provide transportation to and from the center’s location.

Who may need Respite Care?

  • The elderly
  • Those dealing with cancer.
  • Alzheimer’s and or memory care issues.
  • Those recovering from a stroke or aneurysm.
  • Those recovering from broken bones.

When Caregivers need to seek Respite

It is essential that those who are providing 24/7 care for their loved ones seek respite care support.  That level of care will emotionally and physically drain the “life” out of the caregiver.  Possible symptoms that may alert you to the need are:

  • Fatigue/exhaustion.
  • A belief that you cannot keep up with the needs of your loved one.
  • Overwhelmed by feelings of stress.
  • A sense that you are always on duty.

It is important for you to take time away from that responsibility and rejuvenate yourself.

Cost of Respite Care

As with everything in elder care the cost of Respite Care will vary from state to state and location to location.  It also will depend on the number of hours/days that are needed.  If respite care facilities are limited they may be more expensive then in areas where there is more competition.

How to pay for respite care

  • Veterans benefits.
  • Long-term health care policies.
  • SSI
  • There are some states who may provide waivers for Medicaid to be used. They may also have state funds for those families that qualify for assistance.
  • Private medical insurances will only cover respite care if there are certified medical personnel on the staff such as nurses, OT, PT or dieticians.

Many caregivers will look for local volunteers within church groups or civic organizations for respite providers.