Let Respite Care Give You a Break
By Nicol Smith, Rambling Oaks Assisted Living and Extensive Care Communities,
Collin & Denton LIVING WELL Magazines
For many of us, a vacation is a welcoming thought, but for those caring for an elderly parent it can be very stressful. Who will take over the role as “caregiver?” According to a 2009 study released by National Public Radio, 30% of Americans are the primary caregiver to an elderly parent, spouse or an adult child who is disabled. The study reports caregivers spend on average, 19 hours a week providing care from dressing, bathing, and toileting to proving meals and assisting with finances.
Caregivers often neglect their own needs and report burnout. They may also be filled with guilt about wanting to travel to visit their children and grandchildren. We live in the “sandwich generation,” often still having children at home and one or both parents living in the same household. The energy and time spent caring for a loved one can be overwhelming at times.
Respite care is a much needed and available service in these situations. Most assisted living communities offer a fully furnished apartment, meals, housekeeping and laundry services. The trained staff is available twenty-four hours a day and can also assist with personal care, including bathing, dressing and toileting. Residents have access to an emergency call system; many have bracelets or necklaces so assistance can be summoned in an emergency situation. There are social benefits as well, from entertainment to outings in the community and visiting with other residents within the assisted living. Respite care is usually available for one week to a couple of months, depending on which assisted living you choose. The rates vary, but in most instances all of the services are less per day than a stay in a nice hotel without the amenities.
There are some things you must have in place before qualifying for a respite stay. Your loved one will need a history and physical prior to admission and a physician’s order for all medications and treatments. A service plan detailing all services requested will be put into place as well as other required information. To find out more, call an assisted living facility in your area or go to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services website, www.texasdepartmentofaginganddisabilityservices.com.
Respite care may be the answer for you and your loved ones. Do something nice for yourself and your family; they just might thank you for it.
Nicol Smith is the director of community relations with Rambling Oaks Assisted Living and Extensive Care Communities in Frisco and Highland Village. For more information, visit www.txseniorcare.net.