Monday, November 28, 2016

Respite: Ways a short-term stay can solve a problem

If your aging parent or loved one needs temporary care, a respite stay may help solve a problem.

Respite stays are usually done in assisted living communities.  The community provides a furnished room, meals and care for a limited time period.  In Washington State, a respite stay can't be longer than 30 days.  A respite can work well in the following situations.

1.  Your parent and you live far apart, but you desire to move him or her closer to you.  You may not be aware of all their care needs, especially if they have dementia.  A respite stay, either in their current location, or more likely, close to you, can give staff time to assess your parent's needs.  It also gives you time to search for the right long-term placement.

2.  Respite works when a caregiver needs a break.  We who do caregiving full or part-time know the drain on energy this role entails.  One of my clients named Karen came to me tired after caring for her husband for 9 years.  We discussed the respite idea.  Soon afterward she got the opportunity to go on a "girls" weekend to Canada with her daughters and sister.  I helped the family find an assisted living community which would do a respite stay.  At the end of the trip Karen returned refreshed.  So did her family and her husband.

3. Respite can help you and/or you parent make up their mind on a permanent placement.  If your parent hesitates about moving to an assisted living community, a 30-day respite "trial" may help you both decide if this is a good fit.  In most retirement and assisted living communities, a permanent move-in requires a community fee, which is generally several thousands of dollars.  A respite stay allows your parent to postpone the community fee until they decide to move in permanently.  If they don't stay past the end of the respite stay, they forfeit nothing.

4.  Respite stays help seniors who finish their rehab time after hospitalization but are not ready to return home.  They can receive some therapies plus tender, loving care to help them get stronger.

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