June 25, 2012
It is a little-known fact that the premature mortality rate of personal caregivers who are caring for their chronically ill spouse is 63 percent higher than non-caregivers due to the physical and mental stress involved. Caregivers who are providing over 36 hours of care a week to their loved one are six times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than those who aren’t. Family caregivers provide 80 percent of the long-term care provided in the United States. Thirty-eight percent of those caregivers are spouses. The average length of time a personal caregiver provides care to a loved one is 4.3 years. (Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. New York University. College of Nursing.)
The stress and continual demands of care giving must be addressed by each family. Options for caregiver relief and support vary by family may be based on the abilities and availability of other people also provide care.
For some families with the means to do so, facility-based respite care may be an option. Respite care is temporary relief for the caregiver and is typically offered by facilities based on room availability.
Respite care is most often offered by Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) rather than Skilled Nursing Facilities. This is true because the type of care provided by ALFs is more supportive and supervisory in nature rather than clinically oriented. That said, some ALFs do provide clinical oversight, including medication management during the respite stay.
A typical respite stay lasts from seven (7) to ten (10) days and allows families to vacation. Caregivers and their families are encouraged to vacation out of town, if possible. A change of environment is supportive of relaxation. Facilities will require contact information in the event of an emergency or significant change of condition in the elder. However, the facility will strive to allow the caregiver and family full respite ( i.e., rest).
Locally, respite care costs range from $115 to $160 per day in Assisted Living Facilities. Included are meals; medication administration; personal care assistance; room and board; laundry; activities; and 24/7 supervision. Medications are brought from home, and some facilities will ask for the family to provide their own linens and pillows.
In Knoxville, Homewood Residence at Deane Hill offers Assisted Living-based respite care, as does Arbor Terrace Assisted Living. Elmcroft Senior Living also provides local respite care services in their Assisted Living Facilities.
Facility-based respite care is a good option for some families. When a family cannot afford this option, other means of respite should be identified, even if just one day a week (24 hour period) with relief provided by another family member or friend at home.
Filed under: Decision Making