Respite care is a service that exists to help the individuals who are caring for elderly or disabled family members. Respite care provides these individuals a temporary, short-term break from the daily stresses they experience.
Frequently, individuals who are responsible for caring for an elderly family member are expected to provide care around the clock, including on weekends and holidays. This care is medically necessary for the senior adult, but can quickly become overwhelming for the caregiver, who may also have a job and family of his own. In some cases, this level of ongoing stress can lead to caregiver burnout, making it even more difficult to provide appropriate care.
Respite care helps support these caregivers, providing them with additional care for their family member so that they can take care of their own responsibilities. There are several types of respite care, including in-home care, adult-care facilities, social day groups and emergency respite care. Individuals who are caring for an elderly adult and think that they may benefit from respite care services can hire a provider privately, speak with a family physician and ask for recommendations, or contact their local Department of Social Services to learn more about the options that are available in their area.