When you were young, you counted on your parents to take care of you. As an adult – possibly with your own children to take care of – it can be difficult when you find yourself in the position of having to return the favor by taking care of an elderly parent or other relative. Despite the stereotypical assumption that seniors with medical needs will end up in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, the available data shows that unpaid caregivers provide about 90% of long-term care, and the majority of unpaid caregivers are family members. If you're a family caregiver, there may be help available for you that you're not aware of. Check out a few things that you should know about respite care.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is a care provided by an outside person or agency that allows you to take a break from caregiving or focus on other obligations. There are several different types of respite care available.
How to Pay for Respite Care
Even caregivers who want respite care may have concerns about how to pay for it. The decision to care for an elderly parent or relative yourself may have been as much a financial decision as a decision made out of concern for the patient's well-being, and respite care may appear to be unaffordable. However, there is help out there.
If your patient has Medicare, they may qualify for a respite benefit that pays up to 95% of the cost for up to five days. However, your patient must meet certain conditions, and the benefit only applies if you use a Medicare-approved hospital or nursing facility. If your parent has private insurance, that may offer more flexible respite approval, though it depends on the insurance company. Don't assume that respite care isn't covered before asking.
If Medicare or insurance aren't good options, don't give up. Many local government agencies provide respite assistance for caregivers. Contact your local Social Services Department or Council on Aging to find local resources. Nursing homes and home care agencies can also be good resources – their finance departments are used to working with various agencies to arrange payment for services, and they may be able to direct you to agencies or charities that you weren't aware of. Community support systems like local churches or charities that do volunteer work with seniors may also subsidize respite care for low-income families.
Why You Need Respite Care
Although many people are taking on caregiver roles for elderly family members, relatively few ever take advantage of respite care. According to the American Association for Retired People (AARP) and the National Alliance for Caregiving, only about 12% of caregivers ever actually use respite care services.
This is unfortunate, because caregiving is both a physically and emotionally taxing role to fill, and doing it for long periods of time without a break can lead to burnout. Burned out caregivers are more likely to provide sub-par care or even make mistakes with medications or treatments. Caregiver burnout can also lead to illness or depression for the caregiver. Furthermore, constant caregiving may interfere with your ability to fulfill your other obligations, such as those to your children or your job. Respite care can help by giving you a break that allows you to recharge your mental and emotional batteries, rest your body, and put some time in on your other obligations.
In order to provide the best care for your parent or loved one, you need to take care of yourself as well. An occasional break with respite care services is not only good for you, it's good for your patient as well. Do yourself and your loved one a favor and look into respite care services in your area.
A few years ago, I began experiencing red, itchy patches on my eyelids and forehead. I began applying moisturizer to my face at this time. Unfortunately, it didn’t help my condition. My trusted physician informed me I might be suffering from the skin disorder psoriasis. This caring individual prescribed a medicated cream for me. Thankfully, the cream soothed my itchy, inflamed skin. If you have an unexplained, skin condition that isn’t responding to home remedies, make visiting your doctor soon a priority. On this blog, I hope you will discover the most common types of skin conditions people seek professional treatment for. Enjoy!