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Benefits of Respite Care

Discover the benefits of respite care with info from Seniorly. We can help you and your loved one understand how respite care can help both of you.

By Emma Rodbro · Updated Aug 08, 2022

One of the most vital components of elder care is often overlooked. Respite care is integral to supporting elders who wish to age at home, and it often helps these individuals recover after surgery or other medical complications. Respite care provides short-term assistance in a community where specialized care is available. These types of communities cater to people looking for both long-term and shorter stays. The benefits of respite care can be felt by seniors and caregivers alike, and have far-reaching social benefits as well.

Hospital readmissions

A 2010 study done by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council reviewed patients (who were at the time homeless) in Los Angeles, Portland and Cincinnati. The researchers looked at the percentage of hospital readmissions for patients who were released from care against those who were admitted to respite communities temporarily.

In the study, those admitted to respite care had 50 percent fewer hospital readmissions in the next 90 days. This medical respite care provided recuperative assistance that these homeless individuals would not have had access to on their own. By providing this type of assistance, each city saved significant funds that would have otherwise been paid in hospital fees for readmissions.

Similar medical respite care can be utilized for elders who have surgery or medical procedures and wish to continue living alone. They aren’t ready or interested in moving into a senior community but need to stay in one short term as they recover.

Change of scenery

For those individuals who live alone or with family and wish to age in place, days spent alone can lead to social isolation and mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression.

For those individuals, adult day centers are the perfect respite opportunity. They provide daily outings with activities that meet patient needs for socialization.

Many day centers provide such amenities as:

  • Meals
  • Educational classes
  • Counseling
  • Music classes
  • Medical care

There are also adult day centers that specialize in working with adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The key to choosing a community of this nature is deciding what you hope to receive from it, and search for a community that specializes in that specific type of respite care.

Care for the Caregivers

Respite care can also be important for those individuals caring for ill or older loved ones. Caregivers often experience fatigue and illness due to the physical and mental stress that accompanies their position.

Caregivers are sometimes reluctant to receive assistance or support in their caregiving duties because they feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for their patients. Fortunately, respite care can offer a break from the trying demands of a caregiving position. Qualified medical professionals can even help care for ill caregivers during their time of need, so they can get back to health faster.

There are other types of respite care, including in-home services, that are designed to assist caregivers when they need some time off. A few examples include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Meal preparation
  • Assistance with shopping (such as grocery shopping)

It is also common for the primary caregiver to arrange for someone to fill in while they are away; this person is generally in charge of providing companionship for the ailing family member. Allowing other people to help out can allow caregivers to take some time off for rest and recuperation.

Medical respite can also be provided for tasks that the caregiver might not be physically able to perform such as assisting with bathing or physical therapy.

Focus on health

The main benefit of respite care – across the board – is that it enables the individual to put his or her energies into staying as healthy as possible. Sometimes we need more care than we accommodate in our own homes, especially as we age. And although elderly loved ones can be cherished members of a household, there might be times when they need more care, or when their caregivers simply need a break. Respite care helps both patients and usual caregivers to ensure everyone’s needs are met efficiently.

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written by:
Emma Rodbro

Emma Rodbro

Head of Growth Operations at Seniorly, MA in Social Work with focus on aging from UC Berkeley.
View other articles written by Emma

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