Being a carer is a rewarding and selfless role, and if you’re a full-time carer, you know first-hand the level of commitment and 24/7 attention it requires. In reality everyone needs a break from time to time, and this is where respite (temporary) care comes in.
What is respite care?
Respite care, often known as temporary care or replacement care, is a temporary care service provided by private healthcare providers, charities, authorities (councils), professional carers or other family members. The purpose of respite care is to give you a rest, which is vital for maintaining both physical and mental health and general wellbeing.
If the patient has dementia, getting a temporary carer in to help and allowing the patient to build a new social interaction may also be highly beneficial to the patient.
Types of respite care
There are different types of respite care available. You can choose to have someone come in for a few hours each week while you take a break, you may send the patient to a day centre or a short stay in a care home. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, as the priority is to meet the needs of both the main carer and the patient. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, respite care can include:
- Day centres
- Care at home
- A short stay in a care home
- Shared lives
- Holidays or short breaks
- Carers’ emergency replacement care schemes
Regardless of which approach you take, it is best to give as much information as possible pertaining to the patient’s needs so the temporary helper can get started right away. Writing them down is a good idea since the list can be added to if necessary. Alzheimer’s Society lists some good topics to write down:
- What the patient likes and dislikes
- Details of their daily routine from getting up, having breakfast, types of activities throughout the day to their bedtime habit
- Dietary, religious and cultural needs
- Hobbies and interests
- Specific ways to support the patient if they get upset or distressed
- Contact numbers, such as the main carer, GP and other family members
- Other details about the house, like how the washing machine works and which key is for which door
Benefits of Respite Care
If you are a full-time carer for a partner or family member, it’s important for you to embrace respite care and use the break to take care of your own health and wellbeing, which in turn will enhance the relationship between you and your patient.
If you are caring for a parent with dementia while also living with your children, you may find that time with your children is compromised. With young children especially this can be difficult, as you may miss out on parts of their daily life and development. Respite care will allow you to spend time with your family, pay special attention to your children, or even take a holiday. Juggling every aspect of daily life can be a struggle, but respite care can help you catch up on things you’ve missed out on before.
Can you get respite care from the local council?
The short answer is yes, provided that your local council’s social services department has assessed your patient. Usually the assessment involves you discussing various issues with a trained person, and the results may include:
- Having someone coming in to help with light housework
- Giving money to pay for things to make the main carer’s job easier
- Putting you in touch with local support groups
- Other support
Eldermera can help
Having a family member who is diagnosed with dementia can be stressful and very difficult to cope with. Aside from daily care concerns, there are many legal and financial issues you will have to understand. The care advocates at Eldermera can provide you with support and advice with any legal aspects of dementia, including Lasting Power of Attorney and Elderly Care Deputyship.
Carers are always investing time into taking care of others. With Eldermera dealing with the paperwork, now you can take care of yourself too.
Use our online form to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our care advocates, or call us on:
Nationwide tel: 0330 022 5778
Tel: 0207 030 4923
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- Interacting with dementia: 5 ways of supporting a person with dementia in everyday life
- Interacting with dementia: How dementia in the family changes your relationships