What is Respite Care?

A senior woman in a wheelchair talking with a staff member

For many family caregivers, looking after an elderly, ill or disabled loved one is a 24/7 job. But no one is equipped to handle such a demanding task alone, and caregivers must take time to look after their own needs. They sometimes simply need time to rest and relax, take a vacation, shop, go to appointments, work or exercise. Respite care is there to help them out.

Senior respite care provides temporary relief for a caregiver. This break can help relieve stress, restore energy, and promote balance in the caregiver’s life. It can also provide variety and stimulation for the loved one being cared for, helping to make the caregiving journey a more enjoyable and rewarding experience for all.

RESPITE CARE INFOGRAPHIC

Where to find respite care

Senior respite care can take place in the home, at day care centers, or at residential or nursing communities that offer overnight stays.

In-home services may be provided by a volunteer or paid staff, and can last from a few hours to overnight. Out-of-home options include adult day care centers that operate during daytime hours. Planned activities at the centers, such as exercise or music classes, promote well-being through social engagement. Some programs may even pick up a loved one at home and bring them back at the end of the session.

Many assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and skilled nursing facilities offer room and board for the elderly. Time frames range from a partial day to several weeks. These often offer group meals, entertainment, or just time to socialize with others. Programs might include music, dance or art classes led by trained providers. Some facilities even have hair stylists, gyms, religious services and supervised outings. They may be able to transport a loved one to medical appointments or shopping. One benefit of this arrangement is that it allows a commitment-free way for a potential resident to check out whether the community might be a good fit in the future.

The benefits of a break

Caregiving is an artful balance between providing love and care while ensuring that the needs of the caregiver aren’t ignored. For this reason, senior respite care is a necessity, not a luxury. It reduces stress and helps caregivers be more patient and avoid exhaustion and frustration.

Respite also offers caregivers a different perspective by allowing someone new to take care of their loved one and it often ends up being a much-needed breath of fresh air for both caregivers and those they care for.

How to determine if respite care is needed

Often, it may seem obvious to family and friends that a caregiver desperately needs a break, but actually looking for help isn’t always an easy step for a caregiver. Handing over the responsibility for a loved one’s care can be a scary prospect. It’s important to remember that respite care is an integral part of the caregiving process, not just for the caregiver, but also for the loved one and the rest of the family.

If you are a caregiver and wonder if you could benefit from some help, ask yourself the following questions. If you notice one or more of these signs, consider arranging for respite care.

  • Do you feel emotionally and physically drained on a regular basis?
  • Are you concerned that in the event of an emergency there is no one you trust to take care of your loved one?
  • Do you find yourself becoming more agitated with things that previously never bothered you?
  • Are you neglecting your own health-related needs due to lack of time or lack of desire to assess your own needs?
  • Are you experiencing resentment toward other family members who could help you, but don’t?
  • Is your social life suffering?
  • Is there a change in your eating habits?
  • Do you have feelings of helplessness?

If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Ridge Crest at Meadow Ridge in Redding, CT is here to help. Our senior respite care guests are encouraged to take advantage of the lifestyle offered at Meadow Ridge and are invited to take part in daily activities and special events. This provides a wonderful opportunity to socialize and spend time with new people.

Interested? Fill out our contact form to have a member of our team reach out with further information.