Preparing Your Loved One for Respite Care

Bethesda Health | July 13, 2018

Taking care of your senior loved one while balancing your own needs in life can be difficult and stressful. No one can effectively “do it all”. Respite Care is the ideal solution for when family responsibilities, extended travel or other personal needs require the complete focus of the family member caring for their senior loved one.

Your loved one may find it frightening to be separated from you even for a few days, but preparing them for the change beforehand can reduce their anxiety surrounding the change and reassure them that everything will be okay.

Explain What Respite Care Is & Why They Are Going

It is essential that you tell your loved one as much about the situation as possible beforehand so they understand that it is temporary. By communicating with your loved one, both of you can feel better about the situation.

For example, you can explain you need a break from time to time so you can continue to take good care of them— not because you are “getting tired” of them. Reassure your loved one that you will continue to take care of them and that the situation is temporary. Also, make sure they realize the benefits of respite care for them– participating in daily activities and the opportunity to make new friends.

Determine Your Loved One’s Needs

Before your loved one goes into respite care, determine what your loved one needs in terms of care. Respite care communities will often provide you with a checklist of things you should provide for your loved one to assure that they receive the care they need:

Introduce Your Loved One to the New Environment Beforehand

If possible, visit the community where your loved one will be staying during respite care so they can get used to the environment. For seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, getting them used to the change and their temporary home will help ease anxiety and show them that it is a place they can not only trust but enjoy. For example, at Bethesda’s three Skilled Nursing Facilities that offer respite care, your senior loved one is provided with not only a temporary place to live but a comfortable social environment along with the rest of the residents. Along with eating their meals with the rest of our residents, your loved one will be invited to participate in the same activities and take advantage of the same senior care programs.

Introducing your loved one to the staff is also a good way to help them form bonds with caretakers beforehand. Talk to caretakers about your loved one’s:

In doing so, the caretaker will be able to effectively communicate with your loved one and understand who they are as a person. Both your loved one and you will feel much better knowing someone will be there to care for them like you do. To learn more about Respite Care Services at Bethesda’s Skilled Nursing Facilities, contact us today.

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