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Understanding Respite Care for Dementia Patients

Dementia caregivers face several challenges regularly. They help their patients with various daily tasks, from toileting to meal preparation. Unfortunately, these responsibilities eventually become too heavy. When that time comes, family caregivers might need to take a break.

However, as a caregiver, you can't just leave your client. To ensure that they still receive proper assistance with their daily living, sign them up for dementia respite care. It refers to temporary assistance while caregivers take a break. You can use this time to deal with your own needs that aren't related to your caregiving duties.

What Is Respite Care For Dementia Patients?

Respite care is the temporary care for seniors, children, and patients receiving caregiving services, thus letting their aides take a vacation. In most cases, caregivers schedule respite services for their clients.

Respite care providers include nursing home facilities, assisted living centers, and individual respite caregivers. Overall, the goal is to provide care in the absence of a caregiver.

If this is your first time hearing about respite services, you might be wondering whether it makes sense to book them. The short answer is yes. Respite care services benefit the following:

  • Family Caregivers: As a caregiver, you probably spend most of your time caring for your client, but you shouldn't neglect personal care. Luckily, respite care lets you take an extended break.
  • Client's Family: You can't expect the client's family members to provide temporary care services in your absence, especially if the care recipient has dementia.
  • Dementia Patient: Dementia patients can improve their interpersonal skills by interacting with different caregivers—or their peers if they stay in a nursing home.

What Are The Types Of Respite Care?

When looking into respite care, you might notice a few variations among providers. For instance, individual caregivers focus on in-home respite care, while large brands operate adult daycare centers.

Having multiple options might feel liberating. However, caregivers researching respite care for the first time might feel a bit intimidated.

But don't worry—we can help you get a better grasp of the most common types of respite care services, such as:

Companion Services 

Dementia patients often struggle to stay mentally and emotionally healthy, and they often rely on their caregivers for help. Sadly, they might not have anyone to talk to while you're away. In these cases, you'd do well to book a respite care professional that also offers companionship services.

Personal Care Or Home Health Aid 

Home health aids will help your client with their daily needs, such as toileting, bathing, eating, and meal preparation. 

Homemaker Or Maid Services 

If your client lives independently, hire a homemaker before going on an extended break. Home care and maintenance takes a lot of energy. You can't expect older adults with dementia to take them on alone. 

Skilled Care Services

For dementia patients with specific needs, look into advanced respite care specialists. Ensure that they have the necessary training, equipment, and education to take on the varying needs of dementia patients.

Other Factors To Consider About Respite Care

Understanding Respite Care for Dementia Patients

Deciding where to get respite care for adults with dementia involves careful planning. Not every caregiver has the patience and knowledge to assist patients struggling with a declining cognitive health. Leaving your client in the wrong hands could have some serious consequences.

Some factors to consider about getting respite care for dementia clients include:

Cost 

Before even looking into respite care programs, consult your client's loved ones first about whether they won't mind the extra charges. Most temporary caregivers charge $100 to $200 per day, after all.

Once you have the go-signal, collaborate with the client's family and direct them to your potential respite care service provider's point person. That way, they can discuss the rates.

Reliability 

​​Don't sacrifice reliability for cost efficiency. As a general rule, turn to reputable, widely trusted adult day care centers and caregivers known for respite care for dementia patients. 

Remember that respite care hours only last a few weeks. It is not possible to extend the care beyond that period of time for error, and you'll have to find a qualified aid right from the get-go.

Guilt 

It's okay to take a break as a caregiver. This is what you do. Even so, the job shouldn't dominate your entire life, especially after physically, mentally, and emotionally draining tasks.

The best thing you can do to appease such guilt is to find a reliable professional to provide care in your place. Ensure that they're trained in respite care for adults with dementia.

Advocating For Your Loved Ones With Dementia

The early stages of dementia come with mild memory issues. However, as the condition progresses, the patient will soon encounter communication issues. Many can't even hold a conversation. Memory loss combined with confusion and declining cognitive health will eventually make it challenging to form complete thoughts.

As such, it's your duty as a caregiver to advocate for your client. Use your observational skills to identify their wants, needs, and preferences, then relay this information to relevant people (i.e., nurses, doctors, and family members.) Map out your personal affairs and calculate how much time off you'll need from your caregiving duties.

Consult Multiple Providers

Consult multiple dementia respite care service providers. Look into both individual caregivers and facilities and check whether they have programs geared toward senior and memory care. Ensure that your client is in a safe, uplifting environment.

Consider Mobility And Transportation

Before opting for a nursing home facility, make sure that your client has the necessary transportation solution. Remember that many older adults struggle with mobility. As such, you might have to rent a spacious, wheelchair-friendly SUV and several helpers.

Read Through Reviews

Before making a decision, ensure to read real service reviews. Doing so will give you first-hand insights into the respite care service provider's performance.

Tips For Finding Good Respite Care For Dementia Patients 

There are dozens of professionals specializing in respite care for dementia patients. A quick Google search will reveal several individual caregivers, nursing homes, and senior care facilities open to respite care.

If you're feeling tempted, you might jump at the first opportunity that comes your way. However, you might want to consider your client's memory loss when making your decision.

Here are some tips to ensure that you get the best dementia respite care facility or professional:

Ask Your Family Doctor For Recommendations

Before anything else, visit your client's designated physician and ask them for recommendations. See if they know anyone specializing in respite care for adults with dementia.

Compute the Exact Respite Hours Needed

The respite time your client needs depends on you, their caregiver. Map out your personal affairs and calculate how much time off you'll need from your caregiving duties.

Consult Multiple Providers

Consult multiple dementia respite care service providers. Look into both individual caregivers and facilities and check whether they have programs geared toward senior and memory care. Ensure that your client is in a safe, uplifting environment.

Consider Mobility and Transportation

Before opting for a nursing home facility, make sure that your client has the necessary transportation solution. Remember that many older adults struggle with mobility. As such, you might have to rent a spacious, wheelchair-friendly SUV and several helpers.

Read the Reviews

Before making a decision, make sure to read real user reviews. Doing so will give you first-hand insights into the respite care service provider's performance

What To Know About Respite Care During COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organizations (WHO) acknowledge the risk of COVID transmission when providing respite care services. There is a return to normalcy in society. However, COVID still poses a threat as it continues evolving into different variants, so respite care specialists would do well to protect themselves and their clients by:

  • Getting Vaccinated: The CDC recommends getting COVID vaccine boosters shots to prevent the risk of infection further. Vaccines are especially important for seniors at high risk of COVID.
  • Limiting Visitors: Adult day centers should limit their visiting hours. Encourage video calls in the meantime, especially if the patient is only staying for a few days or weeks.
  • Regulating Bookings: Ensure that your patients can still observe physical distancing guidelines inside the facility. As a general rule, each person should be able to stay 6 to 10 feet away from other people at all times.
  • Regularly Disinfecting: Regularly wipe down and disinfect high-touch surfaces like chairs, railings, elevators, and tables.
  • Screening Clients and Staff Members: Screen your staff and patients for early warning signs of COVID regularly. Isolate potentially infected individuals right away.

Frequently Asked Questions About Respite Care For Dementia

Do you still have doubts about respite care services? To help you reach an informed, objective decision, we compiled some commonly asked questions from other caregivers in a similar situation.

How can you improve the quality of respite care for dementia patients?

Encourage social interaction. Your client can use the respite time to improve their interpersonal skills and form new relationships. Dementia patients shouldn't spend their lives in solitude.

What is the best respite care environment for someone who has dementia?

Carefully choose the adult day care or nursing home that will take care of your client. Dementia patients need to stay in a positive, uplifting environment wherein they can play games and interact with their peers.

What should you not say to someone with dementia?

Please be empathetic when discussing respite care with a dementia patient. It's fine to ask how they feel about your temporary leave, but don't expect them to outline all the resources and programs they'll need from their temporary help.

Overall, respite care plays a crucial role in caregiving. It allows family caregivers to take a much-needed break, while dementia patients can take this chance to interact with new people. Look into respite care services if you haven't already. You'll find dozens of nursing homes and respite caregivers well-equipped and trained to take over your caregiving duties.

But don't worry if you still find yourself on the fence about respite services. As a caregiver, you can consult the client and their family about the issue so that you can reach an informed, objective decision. They can also help you find a suitable respite care provider.

Is your dementia-stricken senior loved one struggling to sleep? Senior Strong has a few tips! Check our helpful guide on keeping dementia patients comfortable at night.

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