Choosing Respite Care for Seniors


Summer vacation season is here, but for many people caring for aging parents, that ten-day cruise or escape to a tropical island paradise, or even a jaunt down to Disney for the family, just isn’t in the cards. Or is it?

Many assisted living communities today offer respite care which is, as the name suggests, care for aging seniors so their regular caregivers can take a well-deserved break. Respite care is good for the caregiver and the senior in their care. It can help sustain the caregiver’s health and well-being, avoid burnout, and reduce the likelihood of neglect.

If you’re considering respite care so the rest of your family can take a summer vacation, or just to give yourself a week off from caregiving, you’ll want to use as much diligence to choose a respite care provider as you would a permanent assisted living arrangement. After all, you’ll be entrusting your loved one to the facility’s staff for a day, a weekend, a week, or even more. What should you look for?

Choosing Facility-based Respite Care
Many senior living communities and nursing homes offer respite care for aging seniors who need any level of assisted living, nursing, or memory care services. First, it’s important to determine if the respite provider you have in mind offers the level of services your loved one needs, from full, round-the-clock nursing care and monitoring down to medicine management and assistance with some personal tasks.

Once you determine the level of care offered fits your needs, you’ll want to ask a few specific questions:

  • What is the caregiver-to-elder ratio?
  • Are background checks performed on caregivers?
  • What sort of screening is done when caregivers are hired, and what specialized training is required?
  • Can I meet with some of the caregivers?
  • What activities are offered?

Each state has difference requirements (and some states only have broad guidelines) for the caregiver-to-elder ratio. Look for a maximum ratio of 8:1 in cases where the people in respite don’t require extensive one-on-one care.

Make sure to ask for references from other customers, although the facility may not be able to provide them due to patient confidentiality. Sometimes, facilities ask for family member feedback, and can share that information with the names withheld.

Finally, trust your instincts as you look around the facility. Is it clean? Do the respite residents look happy and well cared for? Does the ratio of aide-to-resident seem to match up to what those in charge told you?

Choosing Respite Care You’ll Both Love
Of course it’s important to make sure the basics are taken care of, including a clean, safe facility where your loved one will receive the care and attention he or she needs. But you’ll also want to look for a respite care facility that offers activities to keep the senior in your life engaged and inspired.

Respite care may include arts and crafts, performing artists, exercise classes and more. Look for respite care with activities that appeal to the senior in your care, and you’ll both enjoy the benefits of a much-needed vacation.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 342-4297 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.