Respite care provides short-term care for seniors and temporary relief for their primary caregiver.
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Respite care provides short-term care for seniors and temporary relief for their primary caregiver. It can be planned as part of your weekly routine, scheduled for just a few nights, or in some cases, several weeks or months. There is also emergency respite care available should you need it.
Acting as a primary carer for someone is the definition of a labour of love. It’s a practical, everyday enactment of your commitment to someone’s well-being. But full-time caring can take a toll, both physically and emotionally, and it’s important to take regular time out to rest, drawing on your local aged care provider for support.
Taking a break from the person you care for is healthy for both parties! Both of you get a change of scene, can spend time in the company of other people doing different activities, and can look forward to coming together again and sharing your experiences.
In Australia, there are three main types of respite care:
People need respite care for a variety of circumstances, and the option you choose will come down to your own particular situation.
It might be that you just need one day in the week to yourself, to get the grocery shopping done, attend your own appointments, or spend time with friends and family.
Some carers might need to go away for a few nights and are reluctant to leave their loved one by themselves even for a short period.
Or, if you or the person you care for requires several weeks of ongoing care to recover from an operation or a fall, then residential respite might be a more suitable option.
Below we’ve provided information about each type of respite care along with real customer examples, to help you determine which will best suit your needs.
Cottage respite caters for short-term, overnight stays anywhere from two nights to three weeks. On average, guests usually stay for around six days.
Cottages are an intimate setting, accommodating up to ten people at any one time, including couples. They are designed to feel like a home away from home, with cozy bedrooms, accessible bathrooms, and a homely lounge room and kitchen.
Cottages are managed by a small team, with a ratio of one staff member to every three or four clients. The team of highly skilled care workers engage clients with an activities program that is tailored to their particular interests. The team will cook fresh meals for guests and will also organise group excursions.
As there are no Registered Nurses (RN) or doctors onsite, respite cottages only cater for those with low-level care needs, although staff can assist with things like:
Whilst most cottage guests will have mild to moderate dementia, they will need to have a reasonable level of mobility to stay at the cottage, such as being able to feed themselves and getting to and from the toilet on their own. If tasks such as these are sometimes a challenge, then it could be worth considering residential respite which offers round-the-clock medical care.
Lorraine, now in her mid-nineties, stays at BaptistCare’s Willmette cottage in Sydney every now and then to give her carers a break for a few days.
Lorraine uses a walker to get around and can’t travel too far, but other than that, she is really well.
Staying at the cottage feels like a retreat, and she enjoys playing board games with fellow guests and staff, getting out and about on various excursions, and enjoying a cup of tea and cake on the back deck.
* All names referenced are fictitious to protect clients’ identities.