Memory Care Respite Services

As a family caregiver, you likely juggle a lot of roles. If the senior you are caring for has been diagnosed with dementia, the days can be especially stressful and overwhelming. Often people aren’t aware of the many unique challenges that memory loss creates for caregivers. Those frequently include concerns about wandering, difficulty getting the senior to sleep, or problems finding foods they can safely eat.

Because caregiving for a loved one with dementia can be so physically and emotionally exhausting, the experts from the Alzheimer’s Association advise family members to try to routinely take breaks. For many, that can seem like an unrealistic goal. That’s primarily because there isn’t a friend or family member who can step in and take over for a while. Respite care in a memory care community can be a solution. These short-term stays in a memory care program at an assisted living or skilled nursing facility give the senior a safe place to stay while the caregiver takes a time-out.

The Benefits of Respite Care for Family Caregiver

Respite services allow your loved one to be cared for while you take the break you need. Some of the many benefits a respite stay offers include opportunities for you to:

  • Relax and recharge: Whether you decide to go away on a vacation or simply take a few days to rest, respite services can care for your loved one as you enjoy some time for yourself. Being able to sleep without interruptions, eat well and relax will allow you to tend to your own wellness. You’ll be able to come back to your caregiving duties feeling rested and refreshed!
  • Spend time with friends: Caring for an adult with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can be all consuming. You likely don’t have much time to enjoy yourself with friends. Taking advantage of respite services in a memory care community will make it easier for you to stay connected with the other important people in your life.
  • Catch up on errands: While yard work and cleaning might not be the most exciting tasks, they still need to get done. If you aren’t able to hire outside help, respite can give you an opportunity to catch up around the house. Those chores can get done more efficiently when your loved one is safely in the care of a trusted respite provider.
  • Take care of your own health: It’s easy to neglect your own well-being when you’re focused on your loved one’s doctor’s appointments, medication and other needs. But you can’t be an effective caregiver if you get sick. And the more you neglect your own health, the greater the likelihood you’ll experience problems of your own. You can take advantage of respite care when you need to schedule your own physician visits and health screenings.
  • Try out a community: Even if you don’t need respite care on an ongoing basis, it’s helpful to try it out before an emergency occurs or your family member’s disease worsens. By scheduling a trial respite stay or two at a local memory care community, you’ll be able to get a feel for whether it would be a good long-term solution. You can ask questions and get to know the team, as well as other residents and their families.

Answering Common Questions About Respite Services

Even when a family caregiver knows they need a break, there may be barriers that keep them from utilizing respite care. Some of the concerns we commonly hear from families include:

  • Struggles with difficult emotions: Family caregivers feel guilty for even considering allowing someone else to care for their loved one. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help, and it is certainly not a sign of failure! In fact, having time to rest and restore will make you a better caregiver in the long run.
  • Worries about cost: You may be wondering how you will pay for respite services for your loved one. If finances are tight, you may be eligible for financial assistance or government funding. Contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or your local agency on aging to see what programs are available.
  • Concerns about quality of staff: Before committing to a respite care provider, be sure to schedule a tour and take time to ask questions about the staff’s training and qualifications. The community you choose should have a proven track record of experience caring for people with dementia.

Utilizing the Memory Care Decision Toolkit

We created this toolkit to help families learn more about dementia and its challenges, and to offer tips on making informed decisions about care. Our hope is that you will find it useful and share it with others who are searching for a memory care community for a senior.

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