The Respite That Refreshes

by Mary Keen

We all need a break or backup, especially caregivers of older loved ones. But where do these caregivers go for such a “break” in care?

A popular option many caregivers turn to is respite care. What is respite care? It is short- term care for dependent family members, in order to give the caregiver temporary relief from the stress of constant care.

Here are the different types of respite care and CJE’s offerings in the respite care arena:

Residential Respite—The loved one can stay for a few days or a few weeks in a local skilled nursing or assisted living facility.

  • Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation—Lieberman Center in Skokie is a skilled nursing residence with over 35 years of experience in caring for older adults, many with very complex medical needs, including Alzheimer’s or other dementias. A respected healthcare provider, Lieberman Center also offerscardiologist-guided heart care, dialysis and IV-delivered feeding and medication. Special respite care rates apply.
  • Weinberg Community for Senior Living—An assisted living residence in Deerfield, IL, Weinberg Community provides personal care for older adults who can liveindependently but need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing. Care includes gourmet chef-prepared meals and stimulatingcultural activities. Special accommodations for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are available through Friend Center for Memory Care. Special respite care rates apply.

Daily Respite—When a family caregiver needs some time to rejuvenate, daily respite offers a safeplace for the loved one to experience therapeutic and enrichment activities during the day.

  • CJE Adult Day Services—Provides stimulating, structured day programs in secure, supportive group settings for frail older adults or those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It’s offered in three locations: Evanston, Deerfield and Downtown (CJE at Sinai). CJE at Sinai can be combined with Culture Bus™, which takes participants on local outings to enriching sites and cultural venues.

In-home Care—A temporary caregiver comes to the loved one’s normal environment, usually home, and provides care when needed.

  • Gentle Home Services (GHS)—This privately owned personal care agency enjoys a special relationship with CJE. CJE refers clients to GHS for hourly and live-in home and personal care services on a fee-for-service basis.

Now that you’ve learned what respite care is, you might ask, “Why respite care?” It’s simple:. When it’s your responsibility to see that your loved one is bathed, fed and dressed and he or she needs help at home 24/7, it can be difficult to take a vacation or any time away. With respite care, your loved one is cared for, giving you a safety net for an unexpected emergency, a vacation, or time off if you come down with the flu.

There are many instances when respite care is in order. It could be used if you or your spouse expects to need extra recuperation time after a brief hospital stay of your own. It’s an option if you live alone but don’t feel ready to go home after a hospital stay, yet you have been told that you do not qualify for short-term rehabilitation. Or maybe you have been in short-term rehab but your Medicare benefits have ended, and you still need more time to recover.

Face it—if you are a family caregiver, you need time away from these demanding responsibilities so you can restore yourself. Being a caregiver can be stressful and hard on your health; caregivers often neglect their own health while taking care of a loved one at home.

Even finding the time to make a doctor’s appointment can be difficult. 60% of family caregivers age 19 to 64 reported poor health, chronic conditions or a disability—compared with only 33% of non-caregivers.

*While Medicare and other types of medical insurance do not generally include respite coverage, many long-term care policies pay up to aspecific time or dollar amount, so check your policy.

*Commonwealth Fund Survey.