The Importance of Respite for Caregivers and Seniors with Memory Loss

When you serve as a caregiver to someone with memory loss, it can be easy to overlook aspects of your own personal life. As a loved one most often becomes the primary focus of a caregiver’s life, other aspects may begin to lack. Whether this includes the caregiver’s career, family, friends, home or even self-care routine, being a caregiver can be a lot to handle.

According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL., many find the role of caregiver to be enormously rewarding but exhausting at the same time. “When I speak to caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, they express gratitude at being able to be there for their loved one, especially when they are so vulnerable, but they also stress the fact that caregiving is so much more than many people think it is,” says Diane. “Those who don’t care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may not realize the balancing act that occurs when a loved one needs to be cared for. They may spend hours working their current job and then come home to care for loved ones, some may even need to put their career on hold because of the demands of caregiving.

“Those who serve as caregivers often do not have enough hours in their day in order to be able to take care of their family, their loved one with memory loss, their home or themselves, leaving them struggling to balance everything that needs to be taken care of in the few hours they have.”

As much as caregivers like to believe that they can handle everything and do it all themselves, the reality is they may not be able to. That, however, doesn’t mean they’ve failed. It just means they are human and need a break sometimes, too. This is where respite comes in.

What is Respite Care?

Respite care, according to the Alzheimer’s Association® provides caregivers with a temporary rest from caregiving while allowing their loved one to continue receiving care in an environment that is both safe and tailored to their personal needs. Respite care can allow for caregivers to take care of errands, spend time with family and friends or take time to care for themselves. There are different forms of respite care, including:

  • In-Home Care Services. Respite care can be provided in-home. There are different forms of in-home care services, such as companion services, personal or skilled care or even laundry and cleaning services.

  • Adult Day Centers. If caregivers work or have things they need to take care of during the day, they may enroll their loved one in an adult day center. Adult day centers offer a safe environment and plenty of social interaction and care for those with memory loss.

  • Residential Facilities. These facilities allow caregivers with either overnight stays or short-term respite for vacations or otherwise, allowing a much-needed break and opportunity to catch up.

Why is Respite Care So Important?

Respite care can benefit everyone from the caregiver to the loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, making respite care a crucial part of a care plan. Respite care is important because it:

  • Provides time off. Respite care provides caregivers with an often much-needed break from trying to fulfill many roles.

  • Allows for relaxation. Respite helps to prevent caregivers from becoming burnt out, overtired, stressed and depressed.

  • Gives some freedom.  Respite allows caregivers to focus on their families, their relationships and themselves.

  • Increases interaction. Seniors with memory loss are able to meet new people, interact with others, make friends and connect.

  • Provides a change in routine. Respite care often provides programs that are tailored to the abilities of seniors with memory loss, allowing them to engage.

Common Concerns About Respite Care.

Many can become concerned about respite care if it’s not something they are used to or have never heard of before. This is normal. Some of the common concerns caregivers have include:

  • How much it will cost. The costs associated with respite can vary, according to the Alzheimer’s Association®. Fortunately, there may be ways to offset these costs, such as scholarships or government programs. To find out what respite care services are covered, visit Medicare.gov.

  • The reliability of respite care. When searching for respite care, be sure to find a reputable provider. Be sure they are reliable and certified. If you are concerned, talk to a doctor or find a reputable provider here.

  • Guilt. Again, many caregivers believe that they can do everything on their own with no help. When they can’t, turning to respite may make them feel guilty. The Alzheimer’s Association® states that seeking help doesn’t mean you are a failure, the two of you can benefit from the break respite provides.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also welcome you to read our recent blog articles on current caregiver and memory care topics.  

Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.

Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.

Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.

Managed by Pathway to Living®, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living® offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.

For more information, please call Diane or Janette, Lifestyle Specialists, at 847-243-6920.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.