A respite care definition, simply put, is another way of saying a short-term break for primary caregivers. As a full-time caregiver, it is crucial to take breaks and time to look after yourself and your own needs, which is why respite is so helpful. Respite care allows you to hire a professional for periodic or short-term assistance so you may continue to care for your loved one in the comfort of your home. This temporary relief, whether for a few hours, days, or weeks, has positive mental and physical effects for caregivers.
Who Needs Respite Care?
Respite care is designed to help relieve caregivers in providing around-the-clock care for individuals living with an illness or disability. Sometimes caregivers need to step out for an appointment, to run errands, work, or exercise, or they may simply need a break, and taking care of yourself should never make you feel guilty! This is why trained, skilled, and compassionate respite care providers are here to help. Respite may be used to help care for someone living with one of the following conditions:
- TBI, or traumatic brain injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
Respite providers can create a safe, comfortable, and supervised space for your loved one while you are away. Services range from sitting and speaking with someone to the following:
- Food preparation
- Mealtimes, including eating and drinking
- Administering and taking medications
- Exercise or mobility
- Enjoying the outdoors
- Transportation to appointments
- Getting in and out of bed
- And more!
Finding Respite Care
When looking for respite care services, there are many factors you will want to consider, such as respite care costs, accident insurance, credentials, the experience of the provider, and more. If you are caregiving looking after more than one person, you may need to inquire whether the respite services offer to care for multiple individuals. You will likely speak with many care providers and places to find the right fit, and if it is possible, have your loved one join you in this process to make you both feel better about transitioning to respite care. Here are some other important questions to ask and consider:
- How long can respite care sessions last with my chosen provider?
- Is my provider available for long-term care to cover extended time away from home?
- Does the provider have transportation, or will I need to provide a vehicle?
- Are daily chores, such as cleaning and meal preparation included in services?
- What kinds of services are included in the care fees, and can they be personalized?
- How is payment arranged?
- How long in advance does my provider need to be booked for their services?
- What training, education, and credentials does my care provider have?
- How are providers screened when hired, and is a background check conducted?
- How is performance evaluated, and is there a supervisor?
- Are there backup plans or providers available for inclement weather or emergencies?
- How will my provider monitor medication administration and medical conditions?
- Can providers receive additional training to meet specific family needs?
Types of Respite Services
Respite care comes in many forms, whether it means enlisting friends, neighbors, and family to help share in the responsibility and chores, or finding a volunteer or paid caregiver to provide in-home services and support for your loved one, occasionally or regularly. Respite can also be utilized outside of the home as well in settings such as adult day-care centers, day camps, or nursing homes. Once you decide which type of respite care is right for you and your family, you can take that break and get the rest you need while also assuring the continued care of your loved one.
Respite Care Cost
Respite costs can vary depending on the services you and your loved one will need. If you are looking for more of a companion, such as someone to sit and talk with your loved one, many community and church programs have volunteers that may do this at no cost. However, insurance may not cover these basic services, so it is important to check with your insurance provider beforehand. More involved respite care costs will depend on the kind of agency, services, and length of time services are utilized for. Some insurance policies will cover respite costs, while others will not, so it is always important to determine coverage and any out-of-pocket costs before arranging care.
Some individuals may cover for government or private programs, so we recommend checking with the developmental disabilities agency in your home state to learn more about the services that are currently available. Resources are additionally available through non profit organizations that focus on certain conditions. Remember to interview anyone coming into your home beforehand and make sure you feel comfortable and safe with this person as well. If something does not work for you and your family, do not hesitate to stop services and find an alternative provider.
There’s No Shame in Needing Help
One of the biggest challenges of beginning respite care is admitting that you need a break. It is important to be open and honest with your family and loved ones about why you need respite care, as they may want to get involved in the process and help. First, look at all your options and see what works best for you and your needs, then look into how you can cover respite costs.
If money is a concern, speak to other family members about temporarily swapping responsibilities to avoid burnout, or you may be able to seek help from a friend, neighbor, or family member dealing with a similar situation. It is easy to get overwhelmed without breaks and start feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. There is no shame in needing and asking for help, and you will find that when you reassume your caregiving role after the break you need and deserve, you will feel more focused, refreshed, and energized. This will also rub off on the person you are caring for as well, leading to a positive experience for everyone involved.
Lean on Me
Caring for a loved one with disabilities can feel challenging at times, and we recommend participating in support groups to establish relationships with and trust in other caregivers. It makes all the difference knowing you are not alone when times are tough. This supportive setting can additionally be valuable if you do not have family members or friends that are willing or able to support you through your experience as a caregiver. Seeking help is not an easy step, especially when it feels like someone else is your priority, but taking the time to care for yourself is essential for you to be available to care for your loved one.
While you should never feel shame in starting respite care, this response is normal. It is important to remember that your loved one must have the chance to develop multiple relationships in their life, no matter how close you are or how well you may be managing. A fresh pair of eyes can be helpful in suggesting or trying new caregiving methods and techniques, too! It is not healthy to spend all day, every day, with the same person – for both parties. Having time apart from a loved one is just as beneficial to their wellness as it is yours.
Respite Care with Lexington Services
Lexington Services is staffed with highly trained, skilled, and compassionate providers who offer top-of-line care to our members. Our respite care services can be tailored to fit your family and loved one’s unique needs. Give us a call or visit our website today to learn more about the many services we offer. We look forward to meeting you and providing your family with the exceptional care you deserve!