What is Respite Care?

Many people provide unpaid assistance every year to their elderly family, friends, or neighbors in order to help them to stay in their own homes for as long as they can. However, everyone needs some time to themselves once in a to recharge or relax, and caregivers are no different. This is where respite care comes in. It gives family caregivers the time off they need while also making sure that their elderly loved one(s) are still getting the attention that he or she needs.

Please note that there are different types of respite care, and they can vary in time from part of a day to several weeks. Respite often covers a great many services, like traditional home-based care, as well as adult day care, skilled nursing, home health, and short term institutional care. Specifically, respite care can come in the following forms:

  • Adult Day Care: Such programs are made in order to provide care and companionship for frail, disabled people who need assistance or supervision during the day. It gives relief and help to family members or caregivers by providing them the freedom to go to work, handle personal business or just simply relax, while still having peace of mind that their loved one is cared for and safe.
  • Informal and Volunteer Respite Care: Simply put, this means accepting help from other family members, friends, neighbors, or church volunteers who offer to stay with the person while you go to the store or run any other errands. Your local church group or rea agency on aging (AAA) may even have a form “Friendly Visitor Program” from time to time, where volunteers might be able to give basic respite care too. A lot of communities have made either Interfaith Caregiver or Faith in Action Programs in which volunteers from faith-based communities are matched with caregivers to help give them some relief.
  • In-home Respite Care: In a general sense, in-home respite care involves the following four types of services for someone in greater need:
    1. Companion services that help the family caregiver to supervise, entertain, or simply visit with the senior when he or she is lonely and wants company.
    2. Homemaker services that provide help in assisting with housekeeping chores, preparing meals, or shopping.
    3. Personal care services which help the elder to bathe, get dressed, go to the bathroom and/or exercise.
    4. Skilled care services that help the family caregiver to attend to the senior’s medical needs, such as administering medication(s).