Respite Stays for Dementia Patients

Summer often brings to mind vacations and taking time off from everyday stress. Caregivers of loved ones living with dementia-related diseases know that caregiving can be a full-time job in addition to the responsibilities associated with employment and raising families.

The Alzheimer’s Association really says it best on their page about respite care: “Caregiving is demanding—and it’s normal to need a break. Seeking help does not make you a failure. Remember that respite services benefit the person with dementia as well as the caregiver.”

Respite care can take on a variety of meanings, including the utilization of an in-home care worker and/or enrollment in an adult day center. Both could be options to help alleviate the stress of caregiving by hiring assistance to ensure that your loved one is in a safe and stimulating environment.

This blog is intended to focus on another type of respite care to consider: short-term respite stays in a residential facility. Senior housing facilities (also commonly referred to as communities) offer an alternative living environment from a private home. Some focus exclusively on dementia care either in their entire community or within a specific floor or wing of their building. Residents benefit a great deal from the social stimulation, activities, and conveniences of these living environments.

Making the decision to move into a community can be a very difficult one, especially when considering this option for a family member or spouse. Consider the option of moving into a community on a temporary basis as a means to try out this lifestyle change. If your loved one responds positively to this, a short term respite stay could help in easing a transition to a long term move. A respite stay can provide a chance for caregivers to have an emotional and physical recharge and/or ability to travel on a planned vacation or to a family gathering. Traveling for dementia patients can be a very jarring experience and thus very taxing on the patient and their caregiver who is also a traveling partner.  

Of course, it is best to research possible communities in your area well in advance of a planned vacation. Take a tour of the community and clarify whether they offer respite stays and the breakdown of costs associated with them. Some assisted living facilities offering dementia care require payment per day and some require a minimum of 1 month. Most will likely also require that a nursing evaluation be done well in advance so that the community can determine if the prospective resident would be a good fit, and also to devise a care plan for their stay. If things like incontinence care are included in the care plan, clarify if there are additional costs associated with assistance for this.

Please contact Weatherby & Associates, PC to learn more about steps you need to take to plan for a loved one’s care. We can be reached at 860-769-6938.

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