If you’re the primary caregiver for a family member, you know how difficult it can be to balance your caregiving responsibilities with work, parenting and other activities. When you need a break, respite care is an option. Keep reading to learn more about respite care and how it keeps your family member safe while you take a break from caregiving.
What Is Respite Care?
Respite care is temporary relief for caregivers who regularly care for older loved ones. If you care for a family member, you may need time off to care for your children, attend medical appointments, run errands or take a well deserved vacation.
Respite care services give you a much-needed break to decompress and relieve the stress of serving as a family caregiver for as little as a few hours or as much as a few weeks at a time. Even if you have other family members involved in caregiving, respite care can still benefit you and your loved one, especially if you need time to focus on your own needs.
Types of Respite Care
Respite care can be given in your home, at residential facilities or at an adult day center, giving you the flexibility needed to make arrangements that suit your circumstances. If you choose in-home care, a home health aide or other professional will come to your home and care for your loved one while you’re away. In-home respite care is helpful if you need time off from caregiving but don’t want your loved one to stay in an unfamiliar environment.
Some assisted living facilities offer overnight stays, making them a great resource if you need time off and you’d like the peace of mind of knowing your loved one has trained caregivers available throughout the night. If you choose an adult day center, your loved one will go to the day center while you take a break. Then you’ll be reunited at the end of the day.
Benefits of Respite Services
Many people ask, “What is respite care?” but you should also consider the benefits of respite care services. The main benefit of having a respite care provider step in while you’re away is that your loved one will get the help they need even if you need time off from caregiving. Respite care providers can help with many things, including bathing, taking medications, eating, getting dressed and other activities of daily living.
Respite care providers are also trained to meet the needs of older adults with a wide variety of health concerns, such as cancer, dementia, vision impairment and a history of stroke. Finally, professional caregivers can offer companionship, ensuring your loved one isn’t isolated or lonely while you’re taking a break.
Paying for Respite Care Services
Respite care costs are always a concern, especially if your loved one lives on a fixed income. Health insurance doesn’t cover respite care, but there are other options available. If your loved one qualifies for hospice care, you may be able to use Medicare to pay their respite care costs. Medicare Part A covers a variety of hospice services, including spiritual counseling and respite care, making it a good option for some older adults. If your loved one is a veteran who qualifies for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, you may be able to use their VA benefits to cover the cost of respite care.
You should also check whether your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, as long-term insurance sometimes pays for home health services and other services that could be used to give you a short-term break.
Questions to Ask When Looking for Respite Care Providers for a Loved One
If you’re ready to find respite care, here are a few questions to ask when comparing respite services.
- Does your respite care program offer transportation?
- How many trained staff members do you have?
- Do you run background checks on each care provider?
- Do your staff members have any special training in working with older adults?
- What plans are in place for dealing with emergencies at your respite care facility?
- What kind of respite care costs can we expect if we choose your program?
- How many hours of respite care do you provide in one session?
- Are your staff members certified to perform caregiving duties?
- What steps have you taken to create a safe environment for older adults?