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Respite Care: Where to turn for help when you need it.



Caregiving can be a tremendous challenge for the working caregiver.  While the rewards of caring for a loved one are plentiful, the responsibility can often lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed.  In trying to balance work, caregiving, and one’s personal life, many caregivers must rely on outside assistance.  At times, this assistance may come from other family members or friends, but it is also important to be aware of and to utilize the resources in the community.

The term Respite means a period of rest or relief.  There are many Respite Care resources available in the community.  It is up to each family to determine the type of assistance that would be most beneficial to them. 

At Home Services is a wonderful option for many families.  The care is brought right to you, taking out some of the stress of coordinating and making arrangements for the service, and it is provided in comfortable and familiar surroundings.  Typically, the caregiver assigned will be a nurses’ aide who is supervised by an RN.  This may vary depending upon the home care company’s policies.  In most cases, the aide can provide assistance with personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and in some cases they can escort your loved one to and from medical appointments and on other errands. 

Adult Day Services provide another source of Respite Care.  It is a wonderful option for someone who would benefit from the stimulating activities and opportunities for socialization that a day program can offer.  Typically, an adult day program will offer meals, group activities, and transportation to and from the center.  They often have extended hours, making it a great fit for the working caregiver.  Many programs have activities for participants with memory impairment, and they generally have a nurse on staff to administer medications and provide limited medical care. 

Residential Care is another option for Respite when care is needed for a more extended period of time.  Many assisted living and skilled nursing facilities will offer a short term stay.  This gives families an opportunity to travel, have time for themselves, or take care of essential business when needed.  Services vary depending upon facility, but they typically offer meals, medication management, assistance with personal care, and protective oversight. 

Caregivers may avoid utilizing community resources for Respite Care due to the cost.  At times this is something a family will have to pay for out of pocket, but there are also resources to help offset the cost.  Medicaid, Long Term Care Insurance, or funds offered through private organizations may be available. 

For further information about respite care options, community resources, or St. Andrew’s At Home Services, please contact your ElderCare Specialist at (314) 802-6291 or mrobinson@standrews1.com.