Family caregiver support is crucial to the well-being of older Americans. Caregivers also form a critical component of our national support network for seniors. As such, they fulfill a vital function in a healthy society. In addition, they provide about $470 billion in unpaid care each year
, according to the AARP’s latest figures from 2016.
Being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, however, can take its toll.
There’s a lot at stake when family caregivers feel stressed or get burned out. That’s why it’s important to take breaks, maintain your identity, and generally do whatever you can to live your own life.
It’s Already August: Have You Taken a Trip Yet This Summer?
If you haven’t yet found time to get away and experience someplace new this summer (or at least someplace different), now’s the time.
You may think that you can’t possibly travel because you’re the primary caregiver for a senior loved one. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re part of the 35 percent of caregivers who have trouble scheduling ‘me time’
, much less getting away on a vacation.
But if you think you’re too tied down to travel, you probably aren’t aware of respite care services. They provide an ideal solution for weary caregivers who need a break.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is for when a primary caregiver has plans to travel or when he or she simply needs a break for some personal time. Senior living communities
often open up their doors to temporary residents, who enjoy the same level of personalized attention, services, or care as the residents who live in those communities.
Meanwhile, caregivers get a break from the stress of caregiving. They can use the time off to travel, enjoy a ‘staycation’, or focus fully on themselves or other family members for a change.
Choosing the Right Respite Care Services
What should you look for on your visit?
Here’s a checklist to use when selecting a respite care community:
- Do respite guests enjoy the same services as permanent residents?
- Do they have access to the same dining program? What about housekeeping?
- Will there be ways your senior loved one can meet people and connect in meaningful ways while she/he’s there?
- Is there a warm and welcoming environment?
- Can respite guests take advantage of transportation services at the community?
- Will they receive help with daily living activities?
Another Benefit of Respite Care
This may not be on your mind at the moment, especially as you get ready to travel, but there’s another benefit to using the resources of respite care. For seniors who are considering senior living, respite care can be a good way to sample life in an adult community. Seniors can get to know the people who work in the community and, equally important, the people who live there.
They have an opportunity to participate in weekly scheduled activities, try the food, and generally get a feel for the community. They may even make a few long-lasting friendships during their stay.