Have you concluded that someone you know and love would benefit from the continuum of care they would receive in a senior living community? Are you having problems getting them to agree with you? Respite care may help.

It should come as no surprise that moving, especially as an older adult and to a residential long-term care community, can be difficult. Change can be hard for many people, but as we get older it can become increasingly even more difficult and uncomfortable. Older adults often become attached to familiar people, routines and places; while at the same time, often becoming a little (or a lot) less flexible. In our fast-paced world, consistency of routines and surroundings can be a source of comfort, especially for older adults.

Although many benefits can be gained with a move into a senior living community. Around-the-clock care, activities and social opportunities galore, nutritionally balanced meals are just a piece of what you can expect. Transitioning from life in their own home to life in a residential care community can be extremely challenging, and even scary. Respite care can help remove some of the unknown of what life is like in a senior living community. In addition, it’s not as permanent as an actual move, so you may receive a lot less resistance to the idea.

What is Respite Care?

Caregiving is hard work, often requiring a person to totally dedicate themselves to the care of another person, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All caregivers can benefit from short breaks from their caregiving duties. Respite care is designed to do just that, while also providing their family member with a safe and stimulating environment.

Some caregivers use respite care when they feel stressed out and overwhelmed and need a break. Respite care provides this and so much more. It gives you time to:

  • Take a vacation
  • Reconnect with family members and friends
  • Time to immerse yourself in a hobby, or to learn a new one

All these activities give you time to recharge and regroup, giving your life back to you for a short period of time, allowing you to focus entirely on you and your needs. This makes it possible for you to relax and enjoy yourself, knowing that your family member is safe and well cared for. You can then return to your duties as a full time caregiver recharged and refreshed.

Examples of respite care may include:

  • Adult day care – provides breaks during the day only
  • Assistance from family and friends – often for a few hours, but can put a strain on relationships
  • Paid assistance from a caregiving service or home health aide – is easily arranged for times of your choosing, from hours to days at a time
  • A short-term respite stays at a senior care community – lasts for days and weeks at a time

Each of these options has their own specific advantages and disadvantages. One of them, the short-term respite stay at a senior care community, can be used as a trial run for a permanent move to the community, preparing for and easing the new resident’s transition into long-term care.

During a respite stay, your family member will take part in the community, just as if they were a full-time resident. They will enjoy meals with the other residents, take classes, play games, exercise and make many wonderful friends along the way.

Suites designated for short-term respite care are generally fully furnished, but you can bring their favorite throw pillows, a special blanket to snuggle up under, framed family photos and other favorite belongings to give their suite a personal touch which will make their stay much more enjoyable.

Respite Care as a Trial for Long-Term Personal Care

Although respite care can be used to the benefit of the caregiver, one of the most common reasons for a short-term community respite stay is to experience life in the community and give it a test drive before making the move permanent.

If you’re experiencing resistance from your family member to the idea of moving into a senior living community, consider suggesting the use of a respite program as a way for you to get a break without having to be concerned about them.

Or, you can propose it as a vacation for them. Present it to them as a place that caters to all their needs. Share the community’s activity calendar with them, emphasizing all the activities they’re sure to enjoy. It can be like planning the itinerary of their vacation. Discuss the community’s amenities and services so they can plan and dream about all they’ll experience during their vacation.

Respite care may help them realize just how much they require personal living services. They may come to realize how much they’ve been struggling with things when someone armed with a smile is conveniently available and ready to help.

No matter how many times you tour a community, it’s hard to be sure what living in the community is really like. By taking advantage of the services of a respite care program, your family member discovers for themselves if they are comfortable in their interactions with staff and other residents.

Each community has varying strengths and weaknesses. The dynamics between your family member and the other residents will differ between communities. The staff dynamics in each community will be distinctive, often dictated by the personality and leadership skills of the community’s director. It can take time to find the senior care community that’s the right fit for your family member. Respite care programs make it possible to test out various communities and styles of care to find the best fit; and, best of all, there are no long-term commitments.

Keep notes on your parent’s progress and preferences as they test different respite programs.

  • Which style apartment do they prefer?
  • Do they get along well with other residents?
  • Do they enjoy participating in activities and amenities?
  • Is the staff friendly and attentive?

These and many other questions can and should be considered when making the transition to a senior living community.

As you take advantage of a respite care program, you and your family member may be shocked to discover just how much they enjoy life in the community. They may even enjoy it so much they propose the idea of moving to the community without you even bringing it up.

Respite Programs in Your Area

Do you know if your family member is interested in moving into a senior living community? Do they have apprehensions? Are they ready to make the move, but can’t decide if a certain community is right for them? Do you think a “vacation” through a respite care program may help them decide that a specific senior living community is right for them? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, ask communities in your area about their respite care programs, and if you’re near Philadelphia, visit us at PPH.

A respite stay can go a long way towards making sure that you and your family member make an informed decision. It can also prevent you from making the costly mistake of moving into the wrong community.

The transition from home to Personal Care can be challenging, but if you use the tools available to you, such as a respite care program, it makes the transition become so much easier.

At PPH, we strive to ensure that our residents have the retirement experience they’ve often dreamed about, because, to us, our residents are part of the family. Our Life Enrichment program is filled with so many wonderful activities, from pop-up malls to block parties to cocktail hours and so much more. You’re sure to find many ways to fill your days with activities you enjoy and sharing those activities with people you love. If you want to learn more about The Philadelphia Protestant Home continuing care retirement community, don’t hesitate to contact our team today!