Take a break: Options for respite

Go to bed when you’re ready, sleep without interruption, and do what you want all day. Ahhh… If you’re providing full-time care for your loved one, you may long for a night to call your own. Better yet, a few days and nights of R&R.

An extended respite break isn’t indulgent, it’s smart. Providing care full-time is physically and emotionally demanding. Taking a break gives you time to replenish your personal resources so you can be the loving, patient, care provider you want to be.

Here are some options

Your relative stays home. If you already have a hired caregiver, ask if he or she would provide some multi-day help. Or, make arrangements with a home care agency. Have the agency’s care provider spend time at the house with you and your relative ahead of time. Easing in helps your loved one feel safer and lets the provider learn the routines.

You stay home. Typically, this means finding a facility that has beds available for short-term occupancy. Plan ahead to get the dates you want. Expect some paperwork, and an assessment by the facility to fully understand your family member’s needs.

  • Assisted living. An assisted-living facility is an option if your loved one has only mild disability. A person capable of handling some independence may enjoy the social activities and communal meals.
  • Memory care. If your relative has moderate or advanced dementia, then a specialized care unit with trained staff and closer supervision is more appropriate.
  • Skilled nursing facility. If your loved one has medical needs (wound care, injections, IV medication, pain management), a rehab facility is the best match.

Most of these arrangements are private pay, unless you are on hospice. Check with the VA, fraternal organizations, or your Area Agency on Aging for available respite grants.