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?
According to the National Respite Coalition, in 2017, about 41 million family caregivers provided an estimated 34 billion hours of unpaid care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was about $470 billion. According to an AARP Public Policy Institute Report from that same year, 181,000 unpaid family members in the state of Maine cared for loved ones, logging 152 million hours of care, valued at $14.83 per hour.
Respite care is designed to alleviate stress on the primary caregiver, allowing them to take care of their needs while their loved one receive proper care.
Choosing Respite Care
- What Is Respite Care?
Respite care provides temporary, planned or emergency relief to a caregiver who cares for an older adult who requires 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.
- 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 such as go on a day trip, visit relatives or receive medical care.
Caregivers also use respite care for:
- Scheduled vacations
- Temporary illness
- Needing a break
Caregivers use respite care for multiple reasons, but simply put, being a primary caregiver can be tiring and emotionally draining. It’s important you take time for yourself.
- Benefits of Respite Care
When you choose a respite care provider, consider a long term care home that could provide your loved one with future care. Respite care visits can be a way for temporary residents to gain insight into a specific skilled nursing home without committing.
Benefits of using respite care include:
- Discovering the community - Residents who participate in respite care gain hands-on experience of what it’s like to live in a senior care community. They can try meals, attend events and meet residents. All of this provides valuable insight about the longterm care facility.
- Smooth transition – If your loved one has attended respite care at a skilled nursing home that provides their long term care, they may 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, your loved one can continue to receive the care you 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 one while they are in respite care. Some nursing homes offer different means of communication to you and your family, including Skype and Facetime.
- Who Pays for Respite Care?
Respite care costs are privately funded by the resident. Medicare will only pay for respite care if the patient has a life-threatening illness and qualifies for the hospice benefit. Often a person is being cared for at home, usually by a spouse or child. If they didn’t have that person caring for them they would need to be in a nursing home that means they qualify to be in the home. If this was the case and they were 70 percent or more disabled, the VA would pay for them to stay with Maine Veterans' Homes.
- What Do You 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.
About 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.