Family Caregivers Need Respite – How Do You Get It?

Caregivers are special people, especially those who are caring for senior loved ones! You do so many wonderful things each day to keep your elder happy, healthy and safe!

Being their caregiver is one of the most important things we can do for our loved ones as they age and no longer can care for themselves.

However, we know there are so many challenges that meeting them all can become overwhelming. Adding stress and fatigue into the mix doesn’t help the situation for caregivers.

Respite to the rescue!

What is Respite?

Respite is the ability to get a much needed break from the demands of caregiving for a senior loved one.

Programs are available to provide caregivers with skilled helpers to take over your duties at home for brief periods of time to allow you to take care of business, take a trip or just rest. This is usually planned in advance so all arrangements are made. Respite care is also available in an emergency.

Types of Respite Care Available

In-home care: You can have someone come into the home of your elder to give you a break for short and long periods of time.  They can help with specific duties such as housecleaning, personal care, companionship and supervision of your senior loved one.  These helpers can be volunteers, paid help or a service of an agency or organization specially equipped to help. You as a caregiver can get relief from online communities and support groups. Don’t forget to call upon your friends and family members to help you provide care.

Out of home care: There are agencies and activities that can keep your senior engaged and safe during the day such as senior day care, senior centers and adult day care centers.  Your senior can also get short term placement in a facility while you get a much needed rest to be able to continue to provide care to your elder. Support groups will also provide respite care while you attend a group meeting. Respite care retreats and camps are also held to allow caregivers not only important rest but also information, tips and support to continue to be the best caregiver possible.

How to Select a Respite Care Program

There are some steps you can take to help you become comfortable putting the well being of your senior loved one in the hands of another, even if only for short periods.

  1. If you plan to deal directly with an individual care provider, interview each person who might be coming into the home to care for your senior loved one. A phone interview for screening should be followed with a face to face visit. Explain all the duties that are required and be sure that the candidate is capable of performing them. Check out references.
  2. Pay for services after they are rendered, never before. Be sure everyone agrees on the amount of the fees and the schedule of payment.
  3. If you work with an agency instead of an individual they will handle details and find substitutes for health providers in an emergency.
  4. If you will send your senior to an out of home program, be sure to visit it beforehand to be sure it meets your needs and your elder’s needs. There are checklists available to help you decide if a day care center will meet your expectations.

Some of these options require a fee for service. However, there may be ways available to cover these costs that are worth looking into to see if your senior will qualify. Long term care insurance policies, Social Security for the disabled, Medicaid waivers, Veterans benefits, grants from Foundations, Agencies and Organizations such as the United Way and the Alzheimer’s Association, and government agencies such as the Area Administration on Aging may help cover or pay fully for these services.

Being a family caregiver is a rewarding endeavor but one that requires you to care for yourself if you are to give your best to your senior loved one. Take time to meet your own needs — your family, your senior and you will be forever grateful to you for staying strong!

3 thoughts on “Family Caregivers Need Respite – How Do You Get It?”

  1. I had in-house respite, about 1 hr per week which I found efficient, unobtrusive. It’s best if you have the same worker to build up trust and familiarity. When Mum was more mobile the worker might take her out for coffee. Later it was chatting over a cup of tea and painting her nails. That gave me the opportunity to do other things.

    Mum also went to a day centre on Mondays – it was my family’s idea and a thing even now I have guilt over. I know others enjoy day centres but Mum rarely did. Once they had a therapy dog and she loved him, though. But would I have had less copability had I not had those few hours off? That is the question. And I think ‘probably’ is the answer!

    • Thank you Merideth!
      I am happy that you found so many great solutions that were able to help you be a better caregiver and allow your mum to enjoy her days too! I hope you enjoy our future posts! Thank you for sharing!

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