Respite Care: Finding What Works for You
So what exactly is respite care? Respite care refers to a short rest or a temporary period of relief. It benefits the care recipient and provides support to the caregiver so he/she doesn’t feel so alone in the care giving journey. Whether you want to spend time with friends, go to the movies or just catch up on your sleep, respite care means a responsible caregiver will watch your loved one so you can have a well-deserved break.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for a crisis before taking advantage of respite. And remember that the first step to finding respite care that works for you is to take stock of the skills, type and frequency of services you need.
What is it that you and the care recipient need the most? Is it help with transportation? Someone to do the grocery shopping and cook meals? Assistance with daily walks or other forms of exercise? Companionship for a few hours each day? Bathing and grooming? Or maybe you need help with catheter insertion and transferring?
Answering the aforementioned questions will help you choose from a variety of available respite services:
• In-home care – This enables individuals the comfort and familiarity of remaining in their home environment. You can request a companion who will engage the individual in stimulating recreational activities and provide transportation to appointments. A personal care provider assists with bathing, dressing, feeding and toileting. A skilled health care provider is trained in providing medical care. Homemaker services offer meal preparation, shopping, and housekeeping. Depending on your needs, you can choose one or a combination of these services.
• Adult day care – Group respite care is provided in a structured and stimulating environment outside of the home. This type of respite is typically available Monday through Friday. Daily activities may include music, exercise, art and lectures.
• Residential care – When you need a break, residential facilities offer short term stays. Care recipients can stay overnight, for several days or for several weeks. Home care agencies will also send a companion, caregiver, homemaker or skilled health care provider to stay overnight in your home for as long as you need.
We all know the golden rule of good care giving: first, take care of thy self. Respite care gives you an opportunity to do this. After all, if we don’t take care of ourselves who is going to take care of those who depend on us? Now, go forth and conquer!