What is Respite Care?

Are you caring for a parent or loved one full-time? Are you exhausted, burnt-out, and ready to quit? If so, let’s talk about respite care: a little-known alternative to giving up entirely.

Caregiving at Home: The Ultimate Sacrifice

When you choose to care for your elderly, sick parent, spouse, or other loved one in your home or their own, you are undertaking a huge burden. Unless you hire round-the-clock care, a large portion of caregiving will fall to you and your family members. And if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it becomes even more difficult.  Many Alzheimer’s patients tend to wander, so you need to keep a close eye on your sick loved one. Patients with dementia are also often disoriented or aggressive, and need a lot of attention.

This is not to say that caring for your loved one at home is all pain and no pleasure. Caring for your spouse or parent can be an incredibly rewarding experience. About 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to adults over age 50 in the past year. So many of them find caregiving to be a labor of love that is both fulfilling and difficult.

But sometimes, caregivers just need a break. Being on call 24/7 is an exhausting physical and emotional load. Sometimes you need to set that load down for a bit in order to be a better, kinder caregiver.

Respite Care: The Ultimate Solution

When your loved one would prefer to live at home, but you need a break, consider respite care. Respite care, as its name suggests, is short-term relief for those caring for their loved ones. Trained elder-care providers step in to care for your elderly parent or spouse while you take some time to pamper yourself, vacation, or just relax. You can take a break for as long as you need, up to a few weeks, while you rejuvenate. There are three possible ways to get respite care:

  • At your home or the home of your sick loved one: An in-home respite care provider will come to your home and serve as a companion for the home-bound patient. Some providers assist with bathing, dressing, and grooming. There are even respite care workers who can make the beds, fix a meal, or take care of other housekeeping needs.
  • At an adult day-care center: If you just need a few hours to yourself once in a while, or if you work out of the home and can’t leave Mom alone, consider an adult day center. These centers offer crafts, music sessions, exercise, and meals. Some programs even provide transportation to really give you a break.
  • At a skilled nursing facility: many long-term care facilities, like Regency Nursing, offer short-term residential care. If you need to travel for work, vacation, or other reasons, you can leave with a clear mind. You’ll know your loved one is safe in a beautiful, social setting with skilled nursing supervision night and day. Not only will you be able to continue caring with renewed vitality, your loved one will also love getting to spend some time in Regency’s hotel-like atmosphere.

Who Pays for Respite Care?

Medicare doesn’t cover respite care in any form, most of the time. They allow up to 5 days of residential respite care for hospice patients only. Medicaid will, in most cases, cover either home-health aides or adult day centers. Some state financial aid may be available, depending on the circumstances. For patients with Alzheimer’s disease, you may be eligible for a $1,000 grant from the New Jersey Alzheimer’s Association to cover respite care.

In most cases, you will need to pay for respite care of your own pocket or using your loved one’s funds. Many caregivers find the expense to be worth it, when they see the benefit they get from a short break. Feel free to contact Regency Nursing to find out more about our respite program.

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Regency Nursing Centers has a well deserved reputation for excellence in healthcare and I'm extremely proud of our achievements! Thanks for reading our Regency Blog!
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