Respite Care: A Prescription for Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

Being a full-time caregiver for a loved one who is ill or disabled can feel like a lonely job. However, the National Alliance for Caregiving estimates over 65 million Americans take on that role which can be emotionally and physically draining. Yet many caregivers don’t take advantage of respite care opportunities that can give them a critical and recommended break from their round the clock duties.

Some may feel that it’s too complicated to arrange care or explain the detailed routines to an alternative caregiver. Others may feel guilty taking time away. However, mental health experts say it’s critical to managing the caregiver role over the long term and to view respite care as an integral part of the caregiving process that benefits the caregiver, the loved one who is ill, and the entire family.

Since isolation is a big concern for both loved one and caregiver, a respite stay also gives the loved one a mental and emotional break too, especially if they are cared for at a nursing center that has activities or new people to interact with.

Kendal at Lexington Respite Care

Whether it’s a need for assisted living or skilled nursing, Kendal can be a solution for caregivers who need to travel, attend to other business or work, or want a restful reset.

The process involves a medical screening prior to admission and is based on availability, according to Ashley Brunty, Marketing and Admission Coordinator for the Webster and Border Center at Kendal.  

Ashley advises planning ahead since occupancy can change, but also stressed the importance of respite care. “It’s ok to feel like you need a break. Whether you need to travel or you’re just feeling stressed, we can care for your loved one.”

Some stays may be covered by Medicaid (if qualified) and in that case, requires a minimum five day stay, while those choosing private pay can opt for a shorter stay. Ashley can explain the process and options and can be reached at (540) 464-2630.

COVID and Respite Care

Kendal at Lexington continues to offer respite care while staying vigilant with health and safety measures throughout the campus. Those in respite care would be accommodated in a separate area and as part of the admissions process, a physical exam performed by their doctor prior to the stay would also screen for any COVID symptoms.

Other caregiver support programs at Kendal have been temporarily suspended due to social distancing, but experts suggest that caring for yourself is as important as the caregiving you are providing to someone else. That includes eating healthy, getting adequate rest, and staying in contact with your own support system especially since caregiving can be such a stressful endeavor.

Since most people in a full-time caregiver role weren’t professionally trained for such a task, a respite stay may not only give them a much needed break, but they may come away with a tip or new idea to make caregiving at home go more smoothly.

Still feeling guilty about arranging respite care? The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) says, “Even if you feel that you’re the best possible person to care for your loved one, that’s no reason not to seek respite care, and having time apart can help refresh and rejuvenate any relationship.”