Everyone needs a break every now and then. Maybe your mom needs a break from cleaning the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house she lives in by herself. Or perhaps you need a break from stopping by your childhood home every other day to make sure food isn’t bad in the refrigerator or to drive your mom to a doctor’s appointment.
If caring for your aging parent is putting stress on your relationship, then it’s time to explore assisted living. However, if your loved one is safe and healthy at home and neither of you is sure it’s time for assisted living just yet, try respite care first.
What Is Respite Care?
Respite care provides caregivers a temporary rest from caregiving while your loved one gets to test the waters of assisted living. Also known as short-term stays, respite care 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
Why Is Respite Care Beneficial for You and Your Loved One?
Many caregivers take advantage of respite care only once they’ve started to notice signs of stress or exhaustion. A break now can ward off burnout later by empowering caregivers to regain a sense of balance in their lives.
For instance, you could use your short-term break to spend time with other friends and family; take care of errands, such as shopping, exercising, getting a haircut, or going to the doctor; get out of town for a long-awaited vacation; or just relax and do nothing.
Respite care services are also helpful if your loved one is considering making the move to assisted living. It provides them with the chance to interact with others having similar experiences, spend time in a safe and supportive environment, and participate in social activities.
How Do You Pay for Respite Care?
One of the biggest concerns families have about respite care is the cost. But there are costs associated with caregiving at home, too. Nearly half of family caregivers have cut back on leisure spending, such as eating out or going on vacation, because of caregiving expenses, and they spend nearly 20 percent of their annual income in out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving.
Plus, you know that your parent will eventually need help. The earlier you start planning, the more time you have to investigate resources that may help cover the cost.
Although most respite services are not typically paid for by Medicare or private insurance plans, there is financial assistance, such as scholarships, sliding scale fees, or government programs, if you need help paying for respite care.
If your loved one receives veterans benefits, they might be eligible for respite care services that pay for a person to come to their or for them to go to an assisted living facility while you take a break.
Some local Alzheimer’s Association chapters also offer respite scholarships for people with dementia.
Ultimately, respite care is a great opportunity for you to take care of yourself while your loved one explores whether assisted living is right for them.
If either of you is still unsure, it might be helpful to learn more about what it’s actually like to live in assisted living. Download our eBook, What Is Assisted Living Really Like? to learn about the ways assisted living has changed over the years, what a typical day in assisted living looks like today, the staff you’ll usually meet in assisted living facilities, and how assisted living actually feels like home.