What Is Respite Care & How Can You Benefit From It?

Just like anything in life, too much of a good thing can be exhausting, especially if that good thing is providing care for a loved one. Respite Care, when used properly, can be an invaluable, nifty tool to have in your caregiving toolbox. If you are unfamiliar with the term “respite,” Google defines it as: “a short period of rest or relief from something difficult.” Respite Care provides temporary care for loved ones so you can have a break to take care of yourself—whether that involves stuff at the office or even simply recharging your batteries.

The Many Types of Respite Care

There are many types of Respite Care, each catering to a different set of needs. Let’s go through these different types and explore them in more detail.

  1. In-home Respite Care: Allows for a caregiver or companion to provide the care needed from inside your home. There are often volunteer groups in your area that can help with this. In addition, many churches participate in this service, and you can also go through an in-home care agency. In-home care agencies, although possibly more expensive, will have staff that are trained and experienced in assisting your loved ones.
  2. Center-Based Respite Care: Can be described as an Adult Day Care Center. Typically used for no longer than a day, Center-Based Respite Care offers activities and meals in a community setting to help entertain your loved ones while you are away.
  3. Residential Respite Care: Also known as Assisted Living Respite Care, or Memory Care Respite Care, refers to allowing your loved one to stay at a community for a period of time while you are away. This typically refers to more of a long-term break. Many, though not all, communities have a minimum of at least a two week stay. This is because the community’s health services team will build and provide a service plan uniquely catered to your loved ones’ needs. The cost can vary depending on the length of the stay. If you are considering a two week stay, then the costs are typically between $100-200 for room and board and then additional care fees exist depending on the level of assistance your loved one needs. Many times, if one is staying for a month or two, the community will offer monthly rent, which is usually a cheaper option than the daily charges.
  4. Emergency Respite Care: This is the term you would use if you needed to find Respite Care right away, typically used when there is a need to be sent to the hospital right away, or some other urgent matter has occurred. Often times, many communities will work with you to offer this service, however, it helps if you have a community or in-home care agency you would like to use picked out before an emergency occurs. This will take less pressure off of you in the moment of the emergency, enabling you to focus on your loved one rather than using your time and energy to find a community you feel comfortable placing your loved one in.
  5. Transition Care: Transition Care refers to when you or your loved one has been discharged from the hospital, but still needs car—such as physical or occupational therapies, increased assistance in ADL’s, etc. Typically, you would look for this type of care at a skilled nursing facility. However, depending on how much assistance is needed, it’s possible that a community can assist in providing this type of respite care. The difference between the two is that skilled nursing facilities can accommodate for more intense care needs, while a community will offer a more home-like environment.

Benefits of Using Respite Care

Respite Care is there for you to use whenever you need, even if for no other reason than to allow yourself a break. Self-Care is crucial in providing quality of life for both yourself and, in turn, the loved one you are providing care for. Burn out is a very real and understandable concern that can quickly spiral into mistakes, exhaustion, and guilt.  Respite Care can also be very beneficial in testing out a community or in-home care agency. If you are looking for a community to eventually place your loved one in more permanently, and you think you’ve found one you like, there’s no reason not to give it a go and test the waters. Always keep in mind that there is a transition period, so if you do give a community a go, allow for at least a month of Respite Care so your loved has time to settle in, and the community will have time to learn and adjust to their unique preferences as well.

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