Caring full-time for a loved one with dementia at home is an enormously demanding and exhausting job.
Taking regular breaks from caregiving responsibilities is absolutely vital for maintaining your own physical, mental and emotional health.
Respite care offers family caregivers temporary but essential relief from daily care tasks while also providing a safe, engaging environment for your loved one with dementia.
Recognize the Wide-Ranging Benefits of Respite
Respite gives you precious time to fully relax, catch up on errands, enjoy hobbies you’ve neglected, or visit with friends.
Your loved one benefits by interacting with others experiencing similar challenges and participating in fun, planned activities that match their abilities and needs.
Even short respite breaks help you better cope with the stresses of long-term caregiving.
Explore the Different Respite Care Options Available
In-home respite care involves having friends, other family members, volunteers from faith-based groups, or paid home health aides provide care in your own home for several hours or days.
Adult day care programs offer a dedicated place where your loved one can socialize with peers and staff and take part in stimulating activities like art, music and games.
Overnight respite stays at assisted living facilities allow you more extended breaks of several days or even weeks while your loved one remains in a secure, supervised environment.
Schedule Respite Services Regularly ,Not Just for Emergencies
Plan ahead and use various respite services consistently on an ongoing basis, not just for unexpected emergencies.
This helps your loved one gradually adjust to spending time with new caregivers in different environments.
It also gives you reliable, recurring periods of time completely off from caregiving duties to focus on your own needs.
Take Time to Find the Right Respite Care Providers
For in-home respite care, using an established home health agency typically offers professionally trained, certified respite aides who are dependable and experienced with dementia patients, unlike independent hires who require more thorough vetting.
Adult day care programs and assisted living facilities also have staff members specially trained to care for dementia residents.
Proactively Address Any Common Concerns About Respite
Cost is often a major concern when exploring respite options. Research payment assistance programs like Medicaid, non-profit scholarships or income-based sliding fee scales.
Overcome natural reluctance or guilt about leaving your loved one’s care to others by focusing on the significant benefits respite provides for both of you.
Coordinate Closely with Your Loved One’s Care Team
Always inform your loved one’s regular direct care staff, primary physician and home health nurses about scheduled respite breaks.
Provide detailed medical information and clear care instructions to temporary respite providers as well.
Introducing new caregivers or facilities to your loved one well in advance helps ease transitions.
Stay Personally Involved in Your Loved One’s Respite Care
Check in periodically with staff at adult day programs or assisted living facilities during respite stays.
Provide any needed updates on your loved one’s current care needs, health changes or behaviors.
Offer feedback regarding how your loved one responds to particular caregivers or activities during respite to improve the experience.
Carefully planned, regularly scheduled respite care allows dementia caregivers to temporarily recharge and take a break from exhausting daily duties.
Finding reputable respite services that fit your budget and overcoming any reluctance or concerns about turning over care takes effort.
But utilizing respite benefits the mental and physical health of the entire family.