Respite care covers a short planned or unforeseen break, often around one to two weeks, traditionally in a care home. Care may be necessary for the recipient if they require increased assistance, for example, after surgery or if health has deteriorated.
Respite care breaks are best implemented on a regular basis and the person who requires the care, for example, if they are living with a form of dementia, will feel more at ease in familiar surroundings. A break can also provide both the care recipient and the regular carer with the chance to take part in leisure activities which will enhance well-being and help lift the mood.
There are different types of care scenarios. The recipient can be cared for in their own home and may or may not involve round-the-clock provision. A traditional care home enables the recipient to be looked after alongside other elderly people in an institutional type setting. A nursing home, by comparison, has registered nursing staff on its payroll.
Live in care is a form of care that allows the recipient to remain in the familiar surroundings of his or her own home which can be comforting and much less of an upheaval than moving to a facility in unfamiliar surroundings.
Frequent breaks can also prepare a person who is becoming less able or even living with Alzheimer’s to better transition to permanent care, even if they do not have a current carer. This is why is it a good idea for relatives to put the wheels in motion when the subject first starts to show signs of physical and cognitive decline.
In some cases, your local authority will offer assistance towards care. You should first contact them and ask for an assessment. A care assessment will determine how much you are entitled to through social services. In some cases, an independent benefits calculator can help you to estimate a cost. Savings, income from benefits and/or pensions as well as rent/mortgage, and council tax costs will all be taken into consideration in awarding a grant.
If you don't qualify for assistance from your local authority, you may be required to pay respite care costs. This can vary significantly but will almost invariably be far lower with live in care than in a residential facility where you are paying for the cost of the accommodation, in addition to care provision. For a couple, the economic arguments for in-home care are usually compelling.
Day respite services will give the recipient the chance to enjoy activities inside or outside the home. Different types of help include sitting with the recipient and providing much-needed company for them. Preparing meals may also be a service provided by the carers who come to the home. They can also arrange social activities, such as going to the cinema, a shopping centre or a leisure centre.
Respite care can also relieve you from your role if you are a carer (paid or unpaid) for a specific period of time. This respite should allow you to enjoy the break that you need to safeguard your own health, both mentally and physically, as a carer for a loved one.