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What Is Respite Care?

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), more than 50 million American adults provide unpaid care for someone over the age of 50. Caring for a family member, friend or loved one is an important job and is very much appreciated by everyone involved. However, serving as a family caregiver comes with a large time commitment and a lot of responsibilities.

To be successful as a caregiver and to achieve positive results for a senior loved one, it is crucial to also maintain a focus on personal health and well-being. A well-rested, healthy person who brings a positive mindset will create a much better environment and provide better care. Finding the right support and resources can put everyone involved on the path to a positive experience.

Respite care is often an excellent option for both caregivers and seniors. So, what is respite care? Who qualifies for respite care? And what are the benefits of respite care?

What is Respite Care?

Respite care is a type of short-term care for seniors that fills in the gaps when a full-time caregiver is not available. While it can take a variety of forms, respite care can be offered in the form of sharing the responsibility for the act of caregiving and providing support for the caregiver. Respite care frequently means using programs such as adult day care centers, day camps and respite care communities like Rosewood Nursing & Rehabilitation. There are two basic categories of respite care:

In-home respite care

In-home respite care can be provided by family members, volunteers or paid professionals on a regular schedule or on an as-needed basis. This type of respite care gives seniors the choice to remain in their own home and can be invaluable for caregivers who need time for self-care.

Out-of-home respite care

There are several types of out-of-home respite care options, including both private and non-private choices. These include:

  • Adult day care centers are designed for older adults who can no longer manage independently, or who are isolated and lonely. Planned activities promote well-being though social and health services. Adult day care centers operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday, in a safe, supportive environment. 
  • Residential respite care programs offer temporary care for varying lengths of time. Group homes, hospitals, nursing homes and other specialized facilities provide emergency and planned overnight services, allowing caregivers 24-hour relief. 
  • Caregiver respite care camps and retreats are available in some areas; these programs combine respite care with education and peer support.

Benefits of Respite Care

Serving as a caregiver takes a lot of time, effort and patience. Seniors who receive care need their caregiver to be up to the task each day. The best respite care programs benefit both the senior and the caregiver, helping to create a positive environment for all involved. Here are a few of those benefits:

Support and assistance

No one can provide all the emotional support and physical care needed to properly care for a senior all on their own. Caregivers need support themselves to be successful and to keep their mental and emotional states healthy. Using respite care services aligns caregivers with professional resources who can answer questions, discuss concerns and make recommendations. This means better care for the senior and improved caregiving!


As people age, it is common to spend more time alone. Isolation can lead to health risks – mental, physical and emotional. Social isolation for a senior can also lead to isolation for their caregiver. It is essential for both seniors and their caregivers to engage with others and participate in social activities. Respite care allows seniors to spend time with peers in a safe environment, while caregivers can take this time to connect with friends and family.

Rest and relaxation

Exhaustion and depression are both risks for caregivers who do not take the time to rest and relax. Taking time for self-care allows caregivers to calm their minds and bodies, reducing their stress level, their heart rate and their blood pressure. Respite care gives caregivers time to rest, while allowing senior to try new hobbies, learn new things and make their own personal connections with others in the respite care program.

Reclaim personal identity

The role as a caregiver can often be all-consuming. It is easy to push aside personal needs, hobbies and social time for the purpose of caring for the senior. Finding a balance can be a challenge, but it is essential to a healthy caregiver-senior relationship. The benefits of respite care allow the senior and the caregiver to safely spend time apart and have fun while maintaining their own personal identities.

Put it all in perspective

A little time and distance can be the perfect way to keep priorities in order and keep life in perspective. Respite care creates an opportunity for caregivers and seniors to spend time apart, clear their minds and take part in activities they enjoy. In addition to supporting their physical, mental and emotional health, respite care allows the caregiver and senior to appreciate and enjoy the time they do spend together!

About Rosewood Nursing & Rehabilitation

Rosewood Nursing & Rehabilitation offers rehabilitation services, skilled nursing and respite stay. We work closely with our residents’ specialty doctors, physicians, families and other care professionals to create a personalized care plan that meets the resident’s health goals and needs. Our on-site physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy programs are available to help support the healing journey of each resident.

Interested in learning more about Rosewood? Call us today at 337-439-8338 to discuss any questions or to schedule a tour.