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Respite Care: 5 Things You Need to Know (A Few May Surprise You)

Many caregivers with parents who struggle with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia have asked us about respite care.

Respite care is an arrangement you can make to have a loved one stay in a senior living community for a couple weeks or more. It gives you, the caregiver, a badly needed break to relax and re-charge or to take care of other business. And it can be beneficial for your loved one as well. Studies show that changes of scenery, people, sights and sounds help stimulate memory, and are good for physical health as well.  

Respite is an important part of caregiving.  So if you have never used respite care, here are some things you need to know:

  1. It gives you a necessary break. Not just a few hours, or a day. Studies show how caregiver burnout can lead to unhealthy levels of anxiety and depression. Both can have a negative and, in some cases, dangerous impact on the relationship between the caregiver and his or her loved one.
  2. It gives your loved one a break too. One of the recommendations from the Alzheimer’s Association is to provide as many opportunities for socialization and variety as possible for memory impaired individuals. A change of location brings with it new people, sites, smells and experiences.
  3. It gives you and your loved one a taste of what community living is like. If and when it becomes time to move your mom or dad into a memory care community, having used respite care helps remove that “fear of the unknown”, making the transition easier for everyone.
  4. It costs about the same nightly fee as a hotel room. At Anthem Memory Care, the average cost of a two-week respite stay is about $198 per day, the cost of an average hotel room. That includes all the amenities our permanent residents enjoy, along with special events and activities. All, of course, overseen by a professional, loving team of dedicated carers.
  5. Not all respite care is the same. Some may “talk the talk”, but not all communities deliver upon their promises. In truth, your loved one may not be getting the level of personal focus and care they need and deserve. After all, they are supposed to be on vacation as well! Make it a point to visit a few care communities before you decide upon one. Ask questions. Dig into the details. You need the assurance that your loved one is in expert and loving hands.

When respite works well, it leaves everyone feeling more rested and revitalized.

Many of our respite families are surprised at how much better their connections are with their loved one after a few weeks of respite. But it makes sense when you think about it. Don’t you feel refreshed after a few weeks away from the office, or day-to-day housework? Isn’t it rejuvenating to get away from those same four walls that keep you locked in old habits and routines? And, when you return, doesn’t everything seem just a little bit brighter?

That’s what respite can and should do for you and for your loved one.

For more information about Anthem Memory Care respite “vacation care” programs, please fill out a contact form via the “CONTACT US” button on our website home page.