According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 6.5% of people over 65 who are not in institutions need some level of care. Many people are more than willing to put the time and effort into caring for an elderly loved one. When a senior is chronically ill, or has mobility problems, the demands of caring for him or her can be overwhelming. That’s where respite care for seniors can be a major help, according to a spokesperson for a company providing care services.
The idea behind respite care is to provide existing care givers with short breaks. This allows them the time to recharge the batteries and rebuild their emotional strength. It also gives them a complete break from caring for a time.
If you need to find respite care, you will need to discuss this with the senior that requires care. Too often, people forget to take this important step. Even if your loved one may not fully understand the situation, you can avoid difficulties later by discussing your plans to bring in somebody to help with respite.
Care givers and the person being cared for need to determine needs and expectations. Much of those will be related to how much care the senior needs. The types of issue to be decided include:
- what level of care is going to be needed?
- does the senior require skilled medical assistance or just support doing things like bathing and dressing?
- is the respite care to be provided at home or in an out-of-home center?
- does the care giver need to stay overnight?
- does the senior just need companionship?
- does the care giver have the necessary skills to stimulate the senior?
Determining the answers to these questions, and others of a similar nature, helps narrow down the search for a person, service or agency that can deliver the level of care you require. When you know exactly what type of respite care you need, you may discover that you can call on friends or families to provide the respite.
Sharing the burden
In many cases, the burden of caring is distributed unevenly. Often, this is simply a matter of location. A family member living with a senior who needs care will inevitably end up providing more care than another family member who lives some distance away.
The person providing most of the care should be open and honest with other family members, as they may not fully appreciate the difficulties the primary care giver faces. This type of dialogue often results in family members doing their utmost to provide respite.