The holiday season is a busy time of year for everyone. Celebration plans, visiting families, travel arrangements and all the extra holiday events can add stress to a busy family caregiver’s daily routine.
Respite care for aging parents may be an option for your family. Respite care can be for a few hours each day or for several days to allow for the family caregiver to take a break, recharge, and participate in holiday events. Care can be provided in the aging parents’ home or respite care can be provided in a nearby care community. A carefully planned respite care experience can benefit senior loved ones, as well as family caregivers.
Plan Ahead for a Quality Respite Care Experience
1. Arrange respite care well before a planned vacation or personal break.
2. Have back-up respite care plans in place and ready to enact before an illness such as flu or winter bug renders you unable to provide daily care for an aging parent.
3. Visit nearby assisted living communities or memory care communities to determine if respite care is available and appropriate.
4. If respite care is to be provided in-home, arrange for visits from family members or friends. Ask you loved one who they enjoy spending time with and would welcome an extended visit.
5. If disruption in schedule and routine is a concern, consider hiring an in-home caregiver for a few hours or a few days to provide respite care in your loved one’s home.
How to Prepare for Respite Care
1. Interview potential communities long before respite care is anticipated and determine if the community provides the right level of skills to provide proper care for your aging parent. Determine if all pre-registration requirements have been met such as medical history and physician’s report, if requested.
2. Prepare a notebook that outlines medication schedules, preferred hygiene routine, food and dining preferences, favorite activities, and a brief biography of your loved one for conversation starters.
3. Provide a complete list and contact information of all health care providers, preferred hospital and emergency contact information.
5. Establish a communication schedule that will allow you to check in with care providers and your loved one.
Scheduling and planning respite care before a break is needed may help ensure that the family caregiver receives rest and recovery before caregiver stress overcomes the caregiver and the care recipient.
If you need assistance in locating respite care providers, contact the Area Agency on Aging for more information.