It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that the American Psychological Association identifies the holidays as the time of year causing the highest amount of stress, particularly for women and especially for those providing ongoing care to older parents. It isn’t any wonder why.
Having to wedge in shopping and holiday planning between caregiving piles on extra layers of stress to primary caregivers, especially those caring for someone with memory loss. And, yes, while others may chip in to help here and there, there is always that clock ticking inside your head reminding you that those moments away from mom or dad are limited. You must “make the most” of your time. Now try relaxing with that thought hanging over your head!
Caregiver burnout, especially during the holidays, can sneak up on you. You tend to blame your fatigue on the hustle and bustle of the season. But once it’s taken hold, it can lead to depression, anxiety, a weakened immune system and higher risk for chronic disease.
But there is a ray of hope for caregivers. It’s called respite care, and many don’t realize the enormous positive impact that taking even one week away from the stresses of caregiving can make.
A respite break is a health necessity, benefiting both caregivers and their loved ones.
Here is how a one-week respite benefits the caregiver:
- Allows you to catch up on badly needed sleep.
- Lets you get up to date with your doctor and dentist appointments.
- Provides you with social time with supportive friends and family.
- Gives you some solitary time for reflection.
- Lets you give yourself an emotional and physical “reset”.
Here is how a one-week respite at a local senior living or memory care community benefits the loved one:
- Gives them professional care from patient, compassionate professionals who are rested and ready to help.
- Allows for healthy socialization with multiple generations from other seniors, to younger care professionals.
- Provides a fresh environment with new sights, sounds and activities to re-invigorate the senses.
- Gives them a positive and non-threatening introduction to assisted living or memory care communities.
- Provides an opportunity for a professional assessment of their condition.
Once you make the decision to take advantage of respite care from a local senior living community, here are some important things to consider:
- Expect to pay about what you’d pay for a mid-priced hotel; usually around $200 to $225 per night.
- Make sure your loved one will have access to all the same amenities the full time residents enjoy.
- Ask to sample their food and ask what seasonal specialties they will be serving.
- Inspect the suite where your loved one will stay. Make sure that your loved one can have an acceptable roommate or a private room, if needed.
- Ask for a follow up meeting with senior staff to discuss your loved one, how they adjusted and any recommendations they may have.
By doing your homework and asking the right questions, you will be sending a message to the senior care community that a) you are serious about getting premium care for your loved one, and b) you may become a prospective client. Furthermore, you will have some additional information under your belt if and when you decide to use that provider again for another respite or for long term stay.
There is still time to arrange for a week of respite for your loved one. Take your time to find the right one. Anthem Memory Care communities are featuring winter respite specials throughout December and January. Above all, remember that this may be the most important gift you give to yourself, your family and to your loved one this holiday season.