Respite care, sometimes called respite services, are professional care services designed to help family caregivers get a break from the constant demands of caring for an elderly family member, or a loved one who suffers from a memory disease like Alzheimer's Disease.
We think the National Institute on Aging provides the best definition for respite care: "short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or several days or weeks. Respite care can happen at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center."
Caring for your senior family member can be incredibly challenging. Being a care provider is a 24-hour a day job! Much like parents of young children, caregivers never get to "clock out." We understand how burdensome and exhausting that can feel. That's why Weatherly Inn offers several types of respite care, including:
- adult daycare
- day services (to help with personal care)
- short-term living facilities (similar to assisted living, but for a shorter period of time)
As the primary caregiver, you should never feel guilty about taking a much-needed break. Like any other responsibility, you'll do your best work when you're well-rested and refreshed.
With this article, we'll cover some different types of respite care, and respite care costs, so as a primary caregiver, you understand all your options.
Types of Respite Care (a.k.a. Respite Care Services)
We can start by dividing respite care services into two main types: in-home care and out-of-home care.
In-Home Respite Care - Home Health Care
As the name implies, in-home respite care services allow primary caregivers a chance to leave the house, get the shopping done, accomplish some errands, or just take a well-deserved break. This type of care doesn't always need to be a paid service. Friends, family members, neighbors, and others can help out once in a while. Consider calling on these folks when you need to:
- get holiday shopping finished
- take the car to the shop
- attend your own doctor's appointments
- run errands
Counting on family members and friends for a little assistance can do wonders for your peace of mind and well-being!
However, sometimes you're better off looking into professional caregiver respite programs.
For any situation longer than a few hours in the middle of the day, consider calling in a professional, certified caregiver. While it's always okay to call on your family for help, certified caregivers are educated with senior care in mind. They can help your loved one with daily tasks like eating, bathing, and dressing. Some services also offer light housekeeping too.
Out-of-Home Respite Care
If you work out of the home, maintain more than one household, or care for more than one elderly family member, you might find out-of-home respite care a more convenient way to get everything done. You have a few options, such as:
- adult daycare facilities
- adult memory care facilities
- short-term respite care facilities (these are apartment-like settings, meant to care for your loved one for any length of time, from a weekend to a month).
Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect them. Whether you're interested in respite care for a weekend or longer, give us a call to schedule a tour. We'd love to show you our modern, comfortable, short-term care apartments.
Time Away Will Help You Provide Better Care
We know how important your loved one is to you! Caregiving is incredibly rewarding. For many primary caregivers, being there when a loved one needs you is a deep core value and a personal priority.
However, an eventual change in your emotions is almost guaranteed. Even if you're not completely overwhelmed by the new load of responsibilities, it's completely natural (and common) to feel angry, frustrated, exhausted, alone, or sad. Caregiver stress, the emotional and physical stress of long-term caregiving, is quite common, according to The Mayo Clinic.
- People who experience caregiver stress can be vulnerable to changes in their health, like new challenges with blood pressure or headaches.
You're not alone in this! Respite care can help!
Paying for Respite Care
Respite care can be funded privately (also known as out-of-pocket) or with certain types of insurance or other funding options.
Funding Elder Care With Insurance
- Long-term care insurance is a specific type of insurance designed to pay long-term care in a full-time living facility. If your loved one has this type of coverage, read the policy or call your agent. Respite care might be covered.
- Life insurance riders can also be written on some life insurance policies, which allow for full payment or partial payment of a life insurance policy while the insured is still alive. Again, call your licensed agent.
- If your loved one has a whole life insurance policy, it may have accumulated some cash value. You can cash in this policy, or take a loan on the amount. Know that these loans come with considerable interest, but if you're expecting to pay it back quickly, these lumps of cash on hand can be invaluable!
Whole life insurance policies can also be sold. Say, for instance, your family member has a life insurance policy worth $500,000 upon death. That policy has a cash value of $250,000 today. Instead of cashing it out, you can sell the policy to specialized life settlement companies, who will pay you more to become the owner and beneficiary on the policy. They may pay you $325,000, for example. Ultimately, the life settlement company will make money by continuing to pay for the insurance until the time of death, when they'll collect the full $500,000.
The VA provides respite care benefits. If your loved one has TriCare or is enrolled in the VA healthcare system, they're probably eligible for paid respite care. VA respite care benefits will cover both in-home and out-of-home respite care services!
Social Security (SSI), Medicaid and Medicare
SSI, Medicare, or Medicaid may also pay for respite care, either in part or in full. Every situation is unique, so we're reluctant to lump everyone together with this section. Get in touch with us today to learn more about SSI benefits and our respite care services. We can help you understand which benefits you can tap for respite care.
Choosing the Right Respite Care Services
The whole point of respite care is to allow the primary caregiver quality time to accomplish errands or rest themselves. If you choose a respite care program that doesn't make you, the caregiver, feel comfortable, you'll end up feeling more worried and stressed out! Spend some time choosing among your options. Tour facilities and meet staff whenever possible. Key things to look for are:
- fully certified caregivers
- registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) on staff
- 24-hour phone access to your loved one (if they will be staying out-of-home)
- tasty, quality dining options
- a clean, comfortable facility
Our role at Weatherly Inn is to help care for your elderly loved ones as they age. We understand the value of aging in place, and we appreciate your dedication, as a caregiver, to your family. If you'd like to learn more about our respite care services, call us today! We'd love to introduce you to our nursing home staff and our seniors.