We often think about respite care as being for the benefit of caregivers, but it can also be a blessing for seniors who require ongoing care. In this post, we explore reasons your loved one may enjoy respite care to give you a clear picture of what to expect if you're considering it.
Respite care is short-term senior care that allows primary caregivers to take a break, and it can take many forms. Day programs are one type. With this type of respite care, your loved one visits an adult day care center or senior living for a few hours while you work, run errands or simply relax. These programs are available for daily use, a few times a week or only occasionally, depending on your needs.
Residential respite care is another option for times when you need a longer break. Senior care communities that offer this type of care accept residents for short periods, like a few days or weeks. They receive the same attention and care as permanent residents at the assisted living or memory care center and usually have access to the same services and amenities.
The following are some of the top reasons your loved one may enjoy spending time in respite care.
Isolation is a serious concern for seniors, with nearly one-fourth of older adults facing it to some degree. Research indicates that social isolation increases the risk of premature death, dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety.
When you care for your loved one, you provide social contacts as much as possible, but respite care allows even more engagement with others. Whether in a day or residential program, your loved one will be surrounded by people their own age. They can find other seniors who share their interests, strike up conversations and build lasting friendships to benefit their overall health and well-being.
Respite care programs include a variety of activities that stimulate the mind and entertain. Your loved one may learn to play a new game, speak a new language, cook something delicious or paint a masterpiece. Often, seniors can choose from various activities, so they can pursue something they're passionate about and continue to learn through their golden years.
Fear of falling or inability to perform daily living tasks can lead to ongoing stress and anxiety for seniors. Respite care provides a safe environment with friendly staff to help in whatever way is necessary. This can lead to an increased sense of security. Plus, respite care programs tend to feature a regular routine with a published daily schedule. Knowing what's coming next in the day can help instill a sense of calm, which is why the Alzheimer's Association recommends creating a daily care plan for people with memory issues.
If your loved one will be in respite care for breakfast, lunch or dinner, they'll have new dining experiences. Meals are carefully chosen to emphasize good nutrition and be pleasing to the taste buds. In addition, respite programs may offer tasty snacks in addition to regular meals.
Regular exercise is crucial for supporting heart health and muscle and bone strength in older adults. Exercise also reduces stress and has been shown to diminish symptoms of anxiety and depression. Respite care programs typically include a recreational component, with various physical activities like dancing, chair aerobics or yoga. The activities are modified for each participant's needs, making it fun to get moving.
Being at home much of the time can take its toll on a person. With respite care day and residential programs, your loved one will get out of the house and be able to enjoy new surroundings. Many assisted living and memory care homes have beautiful grounds to safely explore.
The International Centre on Aging reports that boredom can have a detrimental effect on seniors and lead to frustration, agitation, nervousness, loneliness and a decrease in functional abilities. In respite care, your loved one won't have the chance to feel bored. Daily schedules are usually packed with activities, from bingo to screenings of films. Even when there's downtime, there'll be other seniors close by to chat with.
Respite care allows you to balance caring for your loved one and your own physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. Taking advantage of respite care programs may boost your spirits and renew your energy, resulting in differences your loved one will likely be able to see.