AlzU Blog

What all Alzheimer’s Caregivers Should Know about Respite Care

As most Alzheimer’s caregivers already know, taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) on a full time basis is no small undertaking. It can be emotionally and physically draining - depending upon the stage of the disease and how dependent your loved one is on you for activities of daily living (ADLs).

Respite care was designed with full time caregivers in mind.  Respite care can be performed by a professional who comes into the home to help out a few hours per week, another family member taking over on a part time basis, or even an adult day center which can provide relief for full-time caregivers for a few hours during the day, once or twice each week.  Identifying the best respite care that fits your family’s needs may be a real challenge.

Respite care can help you get some much needed time to reduce your stress and give caregivers more time for self-care and to balance home, social, spiritual, physical and emotional needs in life with the daily tasks of caring for your loved one with AD. Here are a few tips for finding the right person or institution:

Tips for Selecting the Best Respite Care

When considering respite care, be sure to involve your loved one in the decision.
Explain to your loved one the importance of you getting a much needed break so you can provide even better care after getting revitalized and relaxed.

Evaluate your need for respite time and perhaps consider selecting one or more sources of respite care (for example: hire a professional for a couple of hours 2 days per week and another family member to take over on the weekends). Make a list of care needed and note whether any special skills or training is required of the respite care individual or institution (this may limit your options for who is qualified to fill in).  Keep a calendar to track your needs for time off and document who will fill in and when.  Consider the social benefits of your loved one attending an adult day center.

Online Resources for Caregiver Respite Care

Alzheimer’s Association:  Community resource finder allows you to enter your zip code and find in home respite care at home and community services in your local area.

Family Caregiver Alliance:  Information for caregivers nationwide, includes a Family Caregiver Navigator and support groups in your local area.

National Alliance for Caregiving: Resources and publications for caregivers and families with ratings on educational materials and websites for caregivers.

Administration on Aging: Offers a wide range of online resource websites for finding information on elder care in the home.

To learn more about self care for Alzheimer’s caregivers by taking our Alz.U 25 topic caregivers course, CLICK HERE.

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