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Respite care- a much-needed break

Posted May 15, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill

We will soon be heading into the busyness of summer — graduations, weddings, summer vacation, class and family reunions — the list goes on and on.

While most of these things are quite enjoyable, believe it or not they can turn very stressful if you are the primary caregiver for an elderly loved one. How can you even think about going away for a few days, when you need to set up medications, cook meals and run errands? You have someone who is depending on you, and you don’t have time for leisurely and “fun” events, right?

Wrong. Many people aren’t aware of respite care. Respite is defined as “a temporary rest period.” As a caregiver, it is important that you take these breaks from time to time to avoid caregiver burnout. You need to refresh and recharge your batteries, and this respite break is a great time to do that. Many retirement communities provide this service, (Valley View Village does) because the stress of providing care day in and day out can certainly take its toll.

So — how does respite care work?  Typically it is a short-term stay, from a few days to a few weeks. Your loved one comes to the campus providing this care, and their needs are meant — meals, medication management and general medical oversight and supervision. There is a per-day charge for these services, so it is important to discuss with the community what that is and what that would include.

You bring your loved one to the community, and they are well cared for. They engage in the activities, socialization and the great food that is provided. You are able to leave with piece of mind knowing that they will be safe. Upon your return, you pick them up and take them back to their home. You come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

Who knows, maybe your loved one might decide that after “test driving” the community through respite care, that they are ready to make a permanent move.

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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