When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is generally a close family member, such as the husband, wife or child, who steps in to take responsibility for the care and well-being of the senior. Providing care for a person with this form of dementia can be an overwhelming task that is exhausting not only mentally and emotionally, but also on a physical level. That’s why it’s important for caregivers to take time away from this responsibility and focus on themselves, which is where respite care can help.
What is respite care?
Respite, or short-term, care is temporary residential care that is planned in advance to give the caregiver a little time off from the duties looking after someone with Alzheimer’s while the senior receives care from a trained professional in a safe environment. These stays can last as little as a few hours or as long as on an extended care basis, and respite care can be a one-time occurrence or utilized on a regular basis.
Benefits for the caregiver
“A caregiver may take great pride in looking after a loved one with dementia; however, this doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need a break every once in a while.”
A caregiver may take great pride in looking after a loved one with dementia; however, this doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need a break every once in a while. Respite care can provide a plethora of benefits, including:
The demanding situation can cause chronic stress, which is detrimental to all aspects of one’s health. It can deteriorate your physical well-being as well as your mental health, potentially leading to anxiety attacks, depression and other issues. Respite care gives a little relief from the stress of the job by providing the time and space you need to heal and recuperate, as the Alzheimer’s Association points out. You might take an afternoon off to watch a movie and have lunch with old friends, or if it’s an extended stay, you may take a much-deserved vacation.
Chance to catch up on life responsibilities
Providing care to a person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t just take away from your work and social life – you may also find yourself neglecting your day-to-day responsibilities. An afternoon each week away from your caregiving responsibilities can allow you the time you need to do laundry, shop for groceries, do your bills and complete any other tasks necessary to get by in life.
Time to tend to family
Focusing your attention on a senior with Alzheimer’s may draw your attention away from other members of the family. By taking a weekend away on occasion, you can spend some valuable bonding time with your significant other, children, siblings and others. You might simply spend this free time at home with loved ones or off on a family excursion to a theme park.
Benefits for the senior
While respite care is designed to provide the caregiver a break, it also has an array of benefits for the senior. These may include:
Chance to meet other seniors
In addition to adding a little excitement by providing a break from the daily routine, respite care at an assisted living community immerses seniors in a warm and welcoming environment. They will have the chance to meet other people their age coping with the same condition and engage in activities geared toward seniors with dementia. It can be such a rewarding experience that many seniors even find that they prefer spending their time at an assisted living community over receiving at-home care.
Caregiver returns refreshed
One can get quickly burned out by providing care to a person with Alzheimer’s, especially if the caregiver must also balance work and a family. Respite care allows the caregiver time to heal from the stress so that he or she can return to the role refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the duties involved. In fact, a short break can help prevent unintended neglect and feelings of resentment.
Respite care options at Aegis Living
Aegis Living offers short-term care in a variety of options, each intended to give you and your senior a short break from the daily routine. Each Aegis community offers:
Day stays: Seniors can spend the days with new friends at the assisted living community while the caregiver is at work.
Vacation coverage: This option allows you to take a vacation to rejuvenate yourself as the senior is cared for by trained professionals.
Trial stay: Seniors can get a taste of what it’s like to live at an assisted living community through a trial stay – they can meet other residents, enjoy the cuisine and take part in the fun clubs and activities.
No matter which option you choose for your senior, it’s important to recognize that there is no shame in taking a break. In fact, with a little support, a caregiver may feel a new sense of joy in taking care of a family member with Alzheimer’s.