Caring for an aging family member is exhausting work, even more so if that family member is suffering from dementia or other conditions. Primary caretakers may rarely or never get a break from this work, which often leads to caregiver burnout.
Burnout has dangerous consequences for both the caregiver and his or her aging family member. Respite care is an option that may provide some relief.
What is respite care?
Respite care offers primary caregivers a short-term “respite” from the strenuous demands of caring for someone else by allowing an alternate, qualified caregiver to take over for a specified time. Respite care may only last a few hours, or it may last for several days or even weeks. This alternate care may be a regularly scheduled event, or it may be a solution when an emergency situation arises.
Who offers respite care?
Respite care often takes place in the home of the person who needs care, or at a designated facility, such as an adult day care. Many assisted living and skilled nursing facilities also offer respite care services. Regular, respite-care visits to such a facility may make the transition to full-time facility care significantly easier when the time comes.
How can families pay for respite care?
The cost of respite care varies depending on the location and duration of care. Caregivers who provide in-home help often charge an hourly rate, while adult day care centers may offer daily or weekly rates. Washington’s Community First Choice Option and Medicaid Personal Care programs may cover some or all of the costs of respite care for eligible Washington residents.
Caregivers frequently feel pressure to “do it all” and are often reluctant to seek outside help. However, by giving the caretaker a much-needed break, respite care is beneficial for everyone involved.