The Caregiver’s Guide to Choosing the Right Respite Care Provider

The Caregiver’s Guide to Choosing the Right Respite Care Provider

As any full-time caregiver for an older family member with health issues or physical limitations can tell you, caring for an aging loved one can be a full-time job; one that can be physically and mentally exhausting and leave the caregiver with little or no time for their own needs and interests.

Research shows that family caregivers often suffer from burnout, stress and a decrease in overall health as a result of their labor of love. However, life-enhancing services are available that can help caregivers achieve a healthier and more satisfying balance in their lives. One very important service is professional respite care, which provides temporary care to an aging parent or loved one in a supportive environment.

Respite Care is Beneficial to Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

As the Mayo Clinic article “Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself,” notes, family caregivers often neglect their own health and well-being, ignoring their stress, fatigue and anxiety because they assume it’s just part of the job. If left unchecked, though, long-term stress can lead to serious health risks.

Respite care options for loved ones typically involve a stay overnight, for a few days or a few weeks. Respite care allows caregivers to take an extended break or vacation while their loved one stays in a supervised environment designed to meet their personal needs.

In addition to providing welcome relief for the caregiver, respite care services also provide loved ones with a change from their daily routine and an opportunity to: socialize and interact with others of a similar age; participate in enjoyable activities and programs designed to match their abilities and needs; and be cared for in a supportive environment.

Tips for Choosing the Right Respite Care Service for Your Loved One

Understandably, if you have never used respite care services before, it might be difficult initially to entrust your family member's care to others. However, you can allay your concerns by doing some basic research on the subject.

Says Margie Hennessey, Admissions Director of Saunders House, located in Wynnewood, PA, “If you are able, spend some time with the community that seems best suited to your needs. That way, you can get a better feel for the overall environment. Feel free to ask plenty of questions. The team members at high-quality respite care communities should be happy to help.

Experts in senior care suggest that you visit a few respite care providers first hand and include the following criteria in your evaluation of options: 

  • Licensing and Accreditation— Is the respite care provider licensed for senior care services?
  • Quality -- Do they have a good reputation for quality of care and meeting residents’ needs, including any special needs?
  • Ambience and Environment --- Is the “look and feel” of the respite care provider pleasant and cheerful? Is it clean and well-maintained?
  • Interaction with Staff – Do the staff interact cordially and respectfully with respite care guests?
  • Social Activities and Access to Amenities -- Do respite care residents have access to the same social activities, programs, special events and other amenities that are available to full-time residents?
  • Meals – Do respite care guests receive three nutritious meals a day? Can their special dietary needs be met?
  • Cost – Is there a single “all-inclusive” cost per day or week or are there separate charges for basic services you might not be aware of?
  • Supervision – How and by whom are the care providers supervised?
  • Family Visits --Are families welcomed and encouraged to visit? What are the visitation hours?

Respite Care at Saunders House: Providing Freedom and Peace of Mind for Caregivers

Margie adds, “Caring for a loved one at home can be rewarding, but at times it can also be very challenging.

“At Saunders House, voted ‘Best of the Main Line in 2016’, we understand the difficulties that may arise when caring for a loved one at home. We also understand that there are times that you won’t be available to provide that care, in the event of vacations, business trips or simply needing a break to relax, recharge and restore yourself.

“In addition to providing a nurturing environment for your loved one, we encourage our respite care guests to take advantage of the lifestyle  and participate in our daily activities and special events.

“Beyond providing excellent care and services for older loved ones, Saunders House is also an outstanding resource for information and support for area families. We invite you to view our latest articles and tips on a wide variety of important senior care topics and issues on our website.”

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, PA,  , Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our Short-Term Rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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