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What Is Respite Care?

By Eric Carter

Family caregivers often dive head first into their new role, full of energy and ready to do everything they can for their loved one. However, caring for a parent or spouse is physically and emotionally demanding, and family caregivers may eventually find themselves looking for help but not knowing where to turn. That’s where respite care comes in! Let's explore what respite care is and how to know if you need it.  

What Is Respite Care? 

Simply put, respite care is a short-term break for family caregivers. A professional caregiver provides temporary care for your loved one, giving you a break from your caregiving duties and the peace of mind that your loved one is safe and well cared for.  

Respite care can last as long as you need it to — a few hours or a few weeks. It just depends on how much time you need. This type of care can also be provided at home, in a facility, care centers, etc.  

How Much Does Respite Care Cost? 

Respite care services are typically billed by the hour. So, the cost will vary depending on how many hours a day and how many days a week you need care. Unfortunately, respite care is not covered by most insurance plans. If a senior is on hospice in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, Medicare may cover up to 5 days in a row of respite care costs.  

The average cost for a professional caregiver is between $16 and $24 per hour. However, the cost depends on the state in which you live. It may also vary based on the number of total hours, days of service (like holidays), and types of services required.  

At Caring Senior Service, we charge a flat, hourly rate for services — even on weekends and holidays.  

RELATED CONTENT: 6 Ways to Cut the Costs of Senior Homecare 

What Are the Benefits of Respite Care? 

Everyone needs a break every now and then. But respite care is much more than that. There are many benefits of respite care for the family caregiver and their senior loved one.  

Benefits for the Family Caregiver 

Many family caregivers think that it’s selfish to take a break or that they are the only ones who can provide care to their loved one. However, respite care is meant to help you recharge so you can continue providing quality care to your loved one. So it’s not a luxury or self-indulgent; it can be a necessity.  

Here’s how respite care can help family caregivers. 

  • Free time: Sometimes, all you need is just a little time to do other things, like chores for your own household. On other occasions, you may need additional time away to destress, take a short vacation, or spend quality time with your own children. 
  • Flexibility: Respite care is flexible care designed to fill the gaps in the time you can personally spend attending to the needs of your loved one. So, you can attend to other responsibilities and continue caring for your loved one. 
  • Recharge: As you care for others, you might forget to care for yourself. Respite care can give you time to destress and restore your physical, mental, and emotional energy.  

Benefits for the Senior 

While you might be hesitant about bringing in a professional caregiver to help, respite care can also provide significant benefits to your aging loved one.  

  • Reduce tension: It's easy for family relationships to get tense when a loved one is the primary caregiver. Respite care can help both of you get a break from those tensions and work on your relationship.  
  • Social interaction: In-home respite care allows your loved one to interact with someone besides you. It’s not healthy to spend all day every day with the same person, so respite care adds varied social interaction to your loved one's routine. 
  • Professional expertise: Professional caregivers are trained and experienced in common conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, COPD, and other ailments. Bringing in respite care can provide a fresh set of eyes and offer tips on how to handle caregiving tasks. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Senior Home Care 

When Is It Time for Respite Care? 

If you are the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, here are some signs that you might benefit from respite care.  

  • You are becoming more easily irritated and frustrated with your loved one. 
  • You feel like you can no longer fulfill your role as a spouse or child to your loved one.  
  • You are struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety.  
  • Your loved one’s needs are changing.  
  • There is a change in your personal life that you need to address.  
  • You want to spend quality time with other individuals.  
  • You notice a decline in your health, like not sleeping well, not eating right, higher blood pressure, etc.  
  • You require medical attention.  

Rather than thinking of respite care as a last resort in a desperate situation, it is wise to take advantage of the benefits of respite care long before you reach the end of your rope.  

Too often, family caregivers don’t take a break and reach the point of caregiver burnout, which is a point of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. This increased stress can lead to physical and emotional challenges, which can prevent you from caring for your loved one. Respite care can help you achieve balance and recharge, so you can continue to provide the best care for your loved one. 

RELATED CONTENT: 4 Signs It May Be Time for Home Care 

Getting Started with Respite Care 

At Caring Senior Service, we help family caregivers by providing respite care services when you need them. We can help you arrange for the best type of respite care to fit your needs and your loved one’s health condition. Plus, we match each client with their caregivers based on personality, needs, and other preferences. And our caregivers treat each client like family, so your loved one can receive the compassionate care they deserve. Contact a Caring team today to begin benefiting from professional relief. 

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Tags: Respite Care, Family Caregiver

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