Though aging is an inevitable part of life, people can vary widely in terms of how it affects them. While some retirees remain active and capable of supporting themselves well past 90, others suffer from dementia and need help with basic daily needs by the time they are 75. Below is the difference between assisted living vs respite care and which is best for your loved one.
Maintaining one’s independence is a priority among aging retirees. Studies show that most wish to remain within their personal residences until they pass on. However, the fact of the matter is that one in five American elders aged 85 or above report that they require assistance with daily living activities, including grooming, bathing and dressing.
This is why many are turning to assisted living, which might also be known as personal or residential care. This service is designed to provide personalized support within residential settings. It is geared towards elders whose well-being necessitates additional support, which is ascertained via a medical assessment that is in compliance with state regulations. Another benefit of assisted living is that it offers both healthier lifestyle choices along with social engagement.
Examples of common services provided by assisted living include meal preparation, transport services, medication management, and bathroom assistance, along with grooming and dressing as well as housekeeping. The caretakers will usually be available for 24 hours per day and residents will sometimes choose to relocate into a retirement community.
Respite care is designed to relieve primary caregivers for a certain period of time so another party can tend to the needs of an aging, disabled or sick family member. It can occur within the home, a retirement community or adult day care establishment. The length of time can range from hours to weeks, and its primary purpose is to alleviate stress while allowing primary caregivers to restore their energy and maintain balance within their lives. Equally important, it is designed to prevent burnout and exhaustion.
It is also beneficial to the care recipients since they will gain stimulation, variety and a different routine. Respite care was developed because institutions recognized that primary caregivers need time to themselves, which should not be seen as selfish. If a primary caregiver spends so much time tending to the needs of their loved ones that they do not take enough time to focus on their own lives, they can eventually become overwhelmed and their own compassion and patience could wear thin. There is also the possibility that their own health could become compromised, which does neither them nor their loved one any good.
While respite service comes in multiple forms, its two fundamental features are sharing caregiving responsibility while providing support for oneself. To that end, respite could involve something as simple as having a trusted friend or family member watch over a loved one so you can take a break to engage in other activities. Or you could hire a nurse so sit with them for a certain number of hours each day. While respite care is not as extensive as assisted living, it tends to be more cost effective.