If you’re currently the main caregiver for a relative, you’re not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 40 million unpaid caregivers in the United States alone. Ninety percent of those are family members caring for a loved one.
While it’s a noble act to take care of an aging parent who once took care of you, it’s important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself first, you may soon find it becomes increasingly difficult to take care of your loved one. So for your sake and theirs, you should look into occasional or scheduled respite care.
What is respite care?
Respite care is simply a means for primary caregivers to get temporary relief from the often full-time job of caring for an aging loved one. Your care recipient receives professional care and help with daily living tasks while you get time to tend to your family or your job, shop for groceries or run errands, or simply take some time to relax and recharge.
Respite care providers can come to your residence, or they may provide care in a health center, adult day care or senior living community. Now that you know what it is, you may be asking yourself, “Who is entitled to respite care?” The short answer? You are. So let’s talk about how respite care can help you and your care recipient.
Typical respite care services
There are many ways to engage with a respite care provider, and the types of respite care services they provide can vary. In general, though, you can expect:
- Supervision and companionship
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Medication assistance
- Handling of or help with household chores
- Meal preparation
Types of Respite Care
Anyone who is entitled to respite care should do a little research on the types of care available and what local options exist. Here are the main categories of care you’ll find most often:
Informal respite care
Sometimes family members can trade off the duties of caring for an aging loved one. You see this a lot with larger families. But even if you don’t have siblings who can help you out, consider asking a trusted friend or neighbor to help out if you have to run a quick errand or just need a break for a few hours.
Adult day care
Adult day care services have become more prevalent as a greater percentage of our population ages. You can often find them run by churches, senior centers, assisted living communities, or independent organizations focused on senior care. These day care providers offer daytime caregiver services similar to child day care so primary caregivers can continue to work or simply enjoy a day off.
In-home respite care
Family members can also opt for in-home respite care if they believe their care recipient would feel more comfortable having a skilled in-home caregiver provide help with daily living tasks in the comfort of their own home. Just like adult day care, in-home respite care can be helpful for caregivers who work outside the home. This allows both caregiver and care recipient to go about their daily routines with some added in-home help.
Senior living community respite care
Many senior living communities welcome those who are entitled to respite care for short-term care visits. In fact, some even set aside beds just for this purpose. This is not only a great option for you and your loved one, but it also gives you both a chance to see what life is like at a caring senior living community that might be a good fit for your situation. If not now, then perhaps down the road.
Costs of respite care
A number of factors go into the cost of respite care. How many hours a day are you using the service? How many days a week? Is this a repeat service you’re scheduling for ongoing help or a one-time/occasional respite request? You’ll find most respite care services charge by the hour or number of days or weeks you plan to use them.
While a lot of insurance plans don’t cover respite care costs, those who are entitled to respite care will find that Medicare generally covers a majority of the cost for up to five days in a row, and Medicaid may also be an option.
Benefits of respite care
Taking time to look after your own needs is just as important as making sure your loved one is looked after. Some of the benefits of respite care include:
· Provides a break for both family members who are acting as caregivers and for their care recipient
· Lets seniors interact with new people, and (in some cases) with others their age
· Gives caregivers a chance to recharge and avoid burnout for a few hours or a few days
· Allows caregivers to continue working without fear of choosing between their job or their loved one
When your loved one is well cared for, you can take time for yourself, your family and your job. And you don’t need to feel guilty about temporarily stepping away. Sometimes it’s what’s best for both of you.
The Buckingham is here to help
The Buckingham is a trusted resource for respite care in the Houston area. Our senior living community offers a team of compassionate caregivers in a comfortable, safe environment. We know your loved one appreciates your care, and we’re simply here to help when/as needed. After all, you have to look after yourself if you intend to keep looking after the ones you love.