What is Respite Care?

Comprehensive guide to respite care

Respite care often refers to short-term stays in assisted living communities. Respite care is a helpful option for family caregivers who need a short break from their caregiver duties, or for seniors who need a higher level of care as they recover from an illness or surgery. Short-term stays are also used by many seniors to try an assisted living community before moving in long-term.

How can I pay the costs of Respite Care?
What is Respite Care for family caregivers?
Why use Respite Care after cardiac surgery?
Can I try an assisted living community for a short time before moving in?

5 Common Reasons for Respite Care

1. Mom takes care of Dad, who has some memory issues. Mom wants to visit her sister in another city. Mom needs respite care for dad in assisted living for 2 weeks.
2. Mom takes care of Dad, who needs help with activities of daily living. Mom needs to have surgery. Mom needs respite care for dad in assisted living for 2 weeks.
3. Mom thinks that it is time to consider moving into an assisted living community. Mom wants to try a short-term respite stay for a month before moving in long term.
4. Mom recently had cardiac surgery. The doctor said it is not yet safe for her to be home alone. Mom needs a 30 days of respite care in assisted living.
5. Mom recently had knee and hip replacement. The doctor prefers Mom to have 24-hour supervision, but she doesn't need to be at a Skilled Nursing Facility for rehab. Mom needs 30 days of respite care in assisted living.

Respite Care Facility Costs

Respite Care Costs

Respite care, or short-term stays in assisted living facilities, typically costs between $150 and $300 per day depending on the location and level of care needed. Most assisted living communities require a minimum stay of 14 days, however some will consider shorter time periods as well. Most respite care is private pay. Seniors with long term care insurance may have a respite care benefit. Also, many local non-profits have respite care grants offered to family caregivers. These grants are usually around $1000.

Types of Respite Care for Elderly

Residential Care Services

There are many types of respite care services for elderly people. They are meant to be a short-term solution for both the caregiver and senior.

Short-Term Stays in Assisted Living

Approximately 60% of assisted living communities offer short-term stays. Many times, you can find communities willing to take your elder loved one for a weekend or even a week, without further obligation to sign on for other services. You would pay for only the day, week or weekend of care needed. In addition, your elderly loved one would be able to participate in social gatherings, meals and special events that may be going on during their stay. That may a great emotional boost and new social connections for them as well.

Short-Term Home Care

Hiring a home care agency is another way to get respite care. Some agencies have 4-hour at day minimums, however it is becoming more common for agencies to offer services with no hourly minimum. In-home respite care is a great solution to have in place periodically or as often as you need it. It’s the perfect answer a much-needed vacation or regularly scheduled break for caregivers.If your loved-one requires medical attention and medical monitoring, nursing care is also available in-home on a short-term basis.

Adult Day Programs

Adult day care programs provide the care recipient with social time and activities as well as a break for the caregiver. Research on adult day care programs for older adults with dementia have found improvements in the health and well-being of both the caregiver and care recipient. Most participants attend programs for full days and about half attend five days a week.

Featured Articles on Respite Care

The Caregiver Vacation - 29% of the US population is a caregiver for an elderly family member, and they need respite care

When Short-Term Stays Are Needed - Respite care can provide an ideal solution for giving loved ones the right level of care they need for a limited period of time.

Respite Care Post Hip or Knee Replacement - Recovery from a joint replacement involves the right combination of rest, wound care, pain management, and physical therapy.

Respite Care and Health Benefits - 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.

Elder Care Following A Heart Attack - Community staff can help with care needs, medication management, and encourage your loved one to get involved in community activities and events to keep them active and engaged as they recover

Other Types of Senior Living

Senior Living

There are four types of Senior Living properties that offer these assisted living services: Board and Care Home, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

Residential Care Homes are single family homes spread throughout the area. Pros: They are usually more budget friendly, have an intimate setting, and have higher staff to resident ratios (industry average 1:6). Cons: They do not have amenities, much socialization opportunities, or fine dining services.

Assisted Living Communities are purpose built properties often appearing to be a large apartment complex from the outside. Pros: They have many amenities, robust social programing and therapies, and typically offer better dining experiences. Cons: They are expensive and often have lower staff to resident ratios (industry average 1:16).

Memory Care Communities are either purpose built properties or wings within Assisted Living communities. Most large Assisted Living communities have Memory Care wings which offer 20-30 private and shared rooms to seniors. Pros: They typically have staff training in Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, and have higher staff to resident ratios (sometimes as low as 1:5). Cons: They are very expensive and not all “training” is equal.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs or LifeCare) communities are purpose built properties meant to care for seniors when they are more independent. The concept was created to enable a new way to “age in place”. These properties have different living options that support seniors at a healthier stage all the way through very high levels of care (including medical needs). Pros: They offer a new “age in place” solution. Cons: They are very expensive with initial buy-in fees in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

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