By Maureen Carland, Administrator at Maine Veterans' Homes -Scarborough
Are you feeling fatigued from providing primary care for a spouse or parent? Did you know there is a resource that can provide the break you need?
Respite care is designed to alleviate stress on the primary caregiver, allowing you to take care of your needs while your loved one receives the proper care.
5 Things You Should Know When Choosing Respite Care
1. What Is Respite Care?
Respite care provides temporary, planned or emergency relief to a caregiver who cares for an older adult requiring special assistance. The care is based on the need of the caregiver and can be arranged for anywhere from a long weekend to an entire season. Respite services are flexible to allow caregivers time to take care of themselves.
2. How Can Respite Care Help Me?
Caregiver’s clocks never stop ticking when monitoring someone’s care. To continue to provide quality care, the caregiver needs to take a break sometimes. Respite care can relieve you for a temporary amount of time, which allows you to do things like go on a day trip, visit relatives or receive medical care for yourself.
Caregivers also use respite care for:
- Medical procedures
- Scheduled vacations
- Temporary illness
- Needing a break
You’re never alone on this journey. Caregivers utilize respite care for multiple reasons, but simply put, being a primary caregiver can be tiring and emotionally draining. It’s important to take time for yourself.
3. Benefits of Respite Care
When choosing a respite care provider, consider a long term care home that could provide future care for your parent or spouse. Respite care visits are a way for temporary residents to gain insight into a specific skilled nursing home without committing.
Benefits of utilizing respite care include:
- Discovering the community - residents participating in respite care can gain hands-on experience of what it’s like to be a resident. They can try meals, attend events and meet residents. All of this provides valuable insight about the long term care facility.
- Smooth transition - people who have attended respite care at the skilled nursing home providing their long term care have an easier transition since they know what to expect. Prior exposure to the home helps ease anxiety and nerves when moving in.
- Receive needed care - when attending respite care, seniors can continue receiving the care they need, including therapy services. All care is unique to the needs determined by the resident.
- Engagement - respite care seniors participate in activities and events with full-time residents, allowing for friendships to be created that can assist with the transition from home to long-term care.
- Communication to the family - family members can easily talk to their loved ones while they are in respite care. Some nursing homes offer different means of communication to the resident and their family, including Skype and Facetime.
4. Who Pays for Respite Care?
Respite care costs are privately funded by the resident. Medicare will only pay for respite care if your loved one has a life-threatening illness and qualifies for the hospice benefit.
Under the Medicare hospice benefit, your loved one can get respite care in a Medicare-approved hospital or skilled nursing facility for up to five days at a time.
5. What Do You Need to Pack?
Discuss with your care provider what you will need to pack. Since respite stays are for a brief time, packing light is often the best plan. Usually, all you will need is prescriptions and clothes, as your loved one will be provided the same care as a full-time resident.
Respite Care at Maine Veterans' Homes
Maine Veterans’ Homes is an independent nonprofit organization that provides respite care at six locations throughout Maine, each welcoming our honored veterans. Learn more about respite care at a location near you.