Choosing the right type of care can be a difficult and confusing time, there’s lots of terminology and so many choices on offer. Our latest blog explains a little more about respite care and why it could be a good place to start when choosing a care home.
Respite care is a short-term stay in a care home, these stays can range from one week to a couple of months. There can be a number of reasons why a short-term stay is ideal, for example, if an older person is being cared for by friends or family members it allows caregivers to take some time for themselves and focus on their own health and wellbeing. For other people respite care may follow a spell in hospital after a fall or illness, if they are not quite ready to go home and need a little more recovery time, a short stay in a care home is ideal. Some people may be considering options for care and a respite stay can allow them to see how they settle into a care environment, without committing to a long term stay if they are not yet ready.
During a respite care stay, residents will be able to experience all aspects of life in a care home. They’ll be able to socialise with people they wouldn’t have met before, often in the same position as them. They’ll also be getting all the help and support they need while staying there, whether it’s getting dressed, going to the toilet, having a bath or just someone to talk to.
People staying for respite care are able to take part in activities in and around the home, just the same as permanent residents who reside there. Staff at the home will get to know them and their interests so they can take part in activities that they enjoy, such as, painting, drawing, gardening, pet therapy or even a day trip out somewhere. There is always a wide choice of things going on for people to choose to get involved with. Respite care is a good way for an older person to get a good understanding of life in a care home, it gives them a sense of what it could be like. If they enjoyed their stay they may decide to stay permanently or may be content to know they’d want to go into that home if the time comes for them to go into full-time care.
The benefits of respite care also expand to the caregiver. When an elderly person is so dependant on a friend or family member it can be very exhausting for that individual. Respite care is a way of allowing the caregiver to have a well-earned break while focusing on their own mental and physical health. The caregiver will be able to enjoy a holiday away or even just a couple days to themselves, while their relative is in a safe, secure and supportive home.
If an older person lives at home alone they may become very lonely and start to feel isolated. Respite care is an opportunity to socialise with others their age, this can improve their mental health as it allows them to see they’re not on their own and there are others in the same position as them. Even when they leave respite care, they can stay in touch with others through phone calls, letters or meeting back up with them for coffee and cake. It gives people a sense of belonging, having a friend to stay in contact with, especially if they’re on their own all the time.