Family members often assume the role of caregiver when a senior loved one needs a helping hand. It usually starts with small tasks, such as providing transportation to a physician’s appointment or stocking the freezer with meals. As the older adult’s needs increase, an adult child or spouse devotes more time to caregiving.
Caregiving is crucial to the health and well-being of many older Americans. The AARP estimates that family members provide almost $470 billion in unpaid care each year. It’s a rewarding but often exhausting role.
Family caregivers are often required to be “on call” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even if their senior loved one doesn’t live with them. It’s a physically and emotionally demanding situation that can take a toll on the caregiver’s health. That’s why it’s necessary to take regular breaks, including vacations with your family or close friends.
Respite care can fill the gap in caregiving duties when you are away on vacation.
Respite Care Allows the Family Caregiver to Take a Vacation
Summer is a popular time for families to take vacations, especially with school-aged children. If you are a family caregiver who would like to plan a summer getaway, here’s what you should know about respite care services.
Respite care is a short-term care solution designed to give the caregiver a break. A caregiver can utilize it for a short period of time to attend to household duties or for a weekend getaway. A caregiver can also use it to travel for a week or two.
Respite residents receive the same level of personal care and support as long-term residents. That includes:
- fully furnished, private apartment or suite to enjoy with safety features such as an emergency call system, grab bars, and handrails,
- opportunities to participate in daily life enrichment programs and wellness activities,
- assistance with personal care as needed,
- three well-balanced meals plus snacks each day,
- transportation for community outings or appointments,
- medication management assistance, and
- laundry and housekeeping services.
Making a Reservation for a Respite Stay
Keep in mind that respite care suites often book early during peak travel seasons. It’s a good idea to call the senior living communities you are interested in as soon as you know what dates you would like to travel.
It’s also a good idea to tour the community and have all your questions answered before making a reservation. A few of the details you’ll need to clarify include:
- what medical information is needed (e.g., some communities require a chest x-ray),
- how much the daily or weekly rate is and what it includes,
- any additional charges you might incur, and
- how medication is managed and administered.
For an inside look at one family’s respite experience, read “A Sunrise Respite Story.” It chronicles how a couple turned to respite care for their senior loved one when they wanted to take a week-long vacation.