One of the hardest parts of being a caregiver is handling all the unknowns. Maybe Mom is still in her home, but how will this care plan change if she falls or needs surgery — or if you burn out?
Fortunately, many assisted living communities offer short-term respite stays.
What Is Respite Care?
Respite care is an umbrella term for services that provide short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be provided at home, at an adult day center, or in a health care facility, such as an assisted living community.
When respite care is provided in an assisted living community, it’s often referred to as a respite stay or a short-term respite stay. Respite stay visitors receive the same comforts and amenities as assisted living residents, including:
- A private apartment with a modern kitchenette, walk-in shower, and spacious living room
- Assistance with activities of daily living, including medication management
- Anytime restaurant-style dining from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Daily programs, including bowling, movie nights, shopping outings, bus trips, spa days, and live music
“One month is our minimum respite stay, and making those accommodations is as easy as a phone call,” says Jason Rieger, Executive Director of The Ivy at Watertown, which offers two short-term respite stay apartments. Typically, respite stays last for a minimum of 30 days or a maximum of 90 days, however sometimes exceptions can be made as each situation is different.
So when might you opt for respite care?
When Respite Care Might Come in Handy
There are many reasons families might benefit from respite care at The Ivy at Watertown:
Caregivers commonly book a short-term respite stay for their loved one when they need to travel for work or pleasure — or if they simply need a staycation.
If you’re nearing caregiver burnout, booking a respite stay at The Ivy at Watertown can give you the time and space you need to enjoy favorite hobbies, visit the doctor, or work on personal goals.
Families may also consider respite care if their loved one has had a recent injury — say a broken hip. They no longer need to be in the hospital, but their house is not conducive to life with a broken hip.
“Enjoying all the comforts of home without the chores and responsibilities of a home is an attractive proposition,” Rieger says. “And to have all the care and support one needs around the clock without burdening loved ones can be invaluable.”
If your loved one needs a place to stay after a hospital stay, booking a respite stay at The Ivy at Watertown can give you time to get the house ready for them to return or to figure out the best living situation for them if the home isn’t fit anymore.
All the while, The Ivy at Watertown care partners are making sure your loved one’s medical needs are met and recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
3. Health Crisis
Another common reason for respite care is if there is a health crisis.
For instance, if your loved one lives in Watertown and experiences a health crisis but you live out of state, booking a respite stay at The Ivy at Watertown offers a quick transition to a safe environment where a loved one can receive compassionate care offered by trained, professional caregivers.
4. Trial Run
A short-term respite stay at an assisted living community also offers a chance for older loved ones to test the waters of assisted living — a chance to interact with others having similar experiences, spend time in a safe and supportive environment, and participate in social activities.
“Respite care is a great way for an individual considering assisted living to experience all the benefits and amenities firsthand,” Rieger says. “Moving from home — especially after many decades — is daunting! So having the opportunity to ‘test the waters’ to see how it feels and try out the dining and activities without any commitment is really like going on vacation. It can be quite eye-opening.”
An Ideal Caregiving Solution
If thinking about booking a respite stay at The Ivy at Watertown leaves you feeling guilty, you’re not alone. Maybe you feel that you’re not doing enough to care for your loved one or that you’re not doing it well enough.
Simply put: That’s not the case. Taking advantage of respite care doesn’t mean that you’ve failed to take care of your loved one. It means you’re making a smart decision to get them — and you — the level of care and support your family needs.
“Staff get to know our respite residents and they will feel like a family member right away,” Rieger says. “They will make it a point to know how they like their eggs cooked, when they’d like to go to meals, what activities they enjoy, and if they’d like a newspaper delivered.”
Whether you need a break from your caregiving duties, your loved one needs some assistance after a hospital stay or health crisis, or they’d like to test the waters of assisted living, respite care can be an ideal solution.
To learn more about resources, conversation starters, and conflict diffusers that can help you navigate the often-challenging caregiver’s journey, download our Solutions to Common Caregiving Challenges eBook.