Unfortunately, many elderly people have declined to a degree where they require constant or near-constant care. In most cases, it is unpaid caregivers providing it; people who may be raising families of their own, people who work, people who have various other responsibilities in life. Getting respite from their duties is necessary for many reasons, from finding the time to run errands to get much needed time for themselves to recharge emotionally.
Figuring Out What You Need Exactly
At the core, caregivers all need the same thing—a break from the overwhelming act that is caregiving. But, situations vary and the exact needs can be different, both on the part of the caregiver and the person in her car. Before you start looking into respite, you have to think about this in detail. This will help you determine the type of respite required, how frequently you need it, what skills are required to care for your loved one and what type of location is most suitable. If your primary concern is your loved one’s social life and her getting out of the house, a senior care center can host her during the day. If your loved one is bedridden, you need to look into home care options with people skilled to tend to her needs.
Talking to Family
Unfortunately, in many caregiving situations, one family member ends up doing the lion’s share of the work. There is no shortage of stories about unhelpful family member who feel they are off the hook because someone else is there for their loved one. Sometimes this is intentional, and sometimes it is not—people may not truly realize how much you do and how much help you need. Reaching out to family who lives reasonably close is important. Let people know what you need and ask them to honestly assess what they can and cannot do; you must accept any limitations and be willing to experiment with alternate strategies.
In-home care can come in the form of paid or volunteer work. There is no obligation to contract the services of someone for a set amount of time—you can arrange help for whenever you need it. You can work directly with providers or book people through an agency. The type of person you pick will depend on the needs required. If there are specific medical needs, and not just basics, like help dressing or bathing, you will need to hire skilled healthcare professionals.
If you are simply interested in having someone there to provide companionship and not perform any sort of care, you can find volunteers through a variety of organizations, faith-based and otherwise.
There are several options for out-of-home services that can provide respite for a few hours or a few days. Adult day centers can provide an opportunity for socialization and fun activities. Residential programs, whether nursing homes, assisted living or hospitals can provide continued 24-hour care, either planned or in an emergency. Typical insurance policies will not cover this, but long-term care insurance or veteran’s programs, for example, may.