We all need a break sometimes. Respite care provides a break from your care routine whether you're caring for a father with Alzheimer's or a neighbor who needs help running errands.
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Respite can help you avoid physical exhaustion, mental stress and depression. It can improve your quality of care and your overall well-being.
Your Caregiver Profile
You provide your loved one care out of love. And you are one of many who do the same every day. Here are some statistics for the unpaid caregivers in the U.S., according to caregiver.org.
- 65.7 million in the U.S. provide care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged
- 20.4 hours is the average time spent provided caregivers every week
- 39.3 hours a week is the time spent providing care if you live with that person
- 4.6 years is the average duration for a caregiver
- 48 is the average caregiver age
Do I Need Respite Care?
In need of respite care? The signs of burnout according to WebMD.com:
- Changes in appetite, weight or both
- Changing sleep patterns
- Losing interest in hobbies, leisure activities
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Feeling hopeless and helpless
- Getting sick more often
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
Respite Care Options
The kinds of respite care vary according to your needs and budget. For instance, a home health agency can provide a skilled nurse with Alzheimer's training. Your local church may have volunteers to act as a companion to your loved one several days a week.
In-home respite care companies provide a handful of services by licensed professionals. These include companion services, personal care, homemaker and skilled care services.
Companion care provides a person someone to talk to, play games and recreational activities and generally being a social partner.
Personal care providers help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, toileting and even exercising.
Homemaker care providers help with shopping, cooking, and housekeeping.
Skilled care providers are licensed professionals that are trained in home health care. These include doctors, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, home health aides, physical therapists, and dieticians among others. Skills, costs and certifications vary depending on the person's needs.
Volunteer/Informal Respite Care can be neighbors, friends or local volunteer organizations who can lend a hand during the week. Check with your local college. Students often need practical experience in their classes in order to graduate.
Adult Day Centers provide social and health care outside of the home, usually during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. These centers provide seniors with socialization, recreation, support, meals and basic medical services. Staff may include nurses, dieticians and social workers.
Residential Respite Care provides care outside the home from a few days to a few weeks. These facilities are ideal for caregivers who need an extended break, vacation or who have to go out of town on business. They usually operate as part of a nursing home or hospital.
Choosing a Respite Care Provider
Here is a guideline of questions to ask and strategies for selecting a respite care provider:
- What types of care services do you need for your loved one?
- Is the care agency licensed and bonded for Medicare and other insurance?
- What is the cost of care?
- What is the caregiver-to-patient ratio?
- What training does the individual have?
- Is the individual licensed?
- Is the agency bonded in case of losses caused by the individual?
- Interview each candidate. Be specific about duties. Can this person meet those needs? What is their care philosophy? Are they trained in first aid and CPR? Ask how they would handle specific situations? Have they cared for someone like this before?
- Does the individual have a back up in case they are sick?
- Ask for the individual's references, both personal and professional
- Do a background check through the internet, a private investigator, or ask the agency
If you're a caregiver, do yourself a favor and find a respite care provider. There is no reason to suffer burnout. With a break from your caregiving duties, you will increase your well-being and enhance the care you provide your loved one.
Search our Respite Care directory to find short term senior care near you.