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When a Caregiver Needs a Break: Respite Care

on 11/22/2016 12:01 PM

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As the population ages, the saying "It takes a village to raise a child," should be amended to "It takes a village to care for our senior population." In a 2015 study, an estimated 34 million adults in the United States provide unpaid care to an adult over age 50, often spending an average of 24 hours a week providing care. If a spouse is caring for a partner, that time spent can increase to 41 or more hours of care a week. And - it's tough. If you are faced with an aging relative who can no longer take care of him/herself, you're not alone in feeling overwhelmed and tired.

Caring for those we love can be a strain mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.  Often we want to look after a family member but are ill-equipped for the constant need to provide care each day. Between work, responsibilities with church or civic organizations, and spending time with grown children and grandchildren, today's average caregiver is at her wit's end. Yes, I said "her" wit's end. Today's average primary caregiver is female, age 49, and has cared for a relative for four or more years.

Just like a mother with small children needs a break from the demanding needs of motherhood, sometimes adult caregivers need moments for self-care too. There are options for providing caregivers a break to mentally and physically refresh from their duties.

Respite care provides a much-needed breather by having other qualified individuals provide care on a short-term basis. As more and more baby boomers become responsible for the care of their aging parents, respite care has increased to support and help caregivers. Many of these family conversations take place around the holidays or at a time when a caregiver is going on a vacation.

Respite care can be provided at both a skilled nursing center and independent living community. If the individual has high medical needs, Alzheimer's disease/dementia, or has recently discharged from a hospital, a skilled nursing center can best meet their needs. A skilled nursing center provides 24-hour clinical care and can handle nearly all medical conditions. Respite care in a skilled nursing center often ranges from a few days to a few weeks.

If the person needs minor assistance like bathing, dressing, and reminders to take medications, an independent living community will be the best choice. An independent living community is often composed of seniors who can independently ambulate and may need little to some assistance with daily activities.

Respite care in an independent living community is typically from a few weeks to a few months. Seniors find a respite care stay is an excellent way to try out independent living before making a permanent move. Most seniors who visit The Atrium at Churchman Village remark that it's quite a vacation for them being waited on by The Atrium staff and enjoy having some alone time, too.  

As a senior independent living community, The Atrium at Churchman Village respite care residents receive the same compassionate care and services that all residents receive including chef-prepared meals, housekeeping, daily activities and exercise, emergency alert system, and optional care from our 24/7 team.

Let us be your village. Caregivers who are interested in respite care services for a loved one are encouraged to contact the Churchman Village senior care campus. The campus includes independent living, skilled nursing, and short-term rehabilitation services. Visit the website at www.ChurchmanVillage.com or call Churchman Village at (302) 998-6900 or The Atrium at Churchman Village at (302) 409-3232.
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