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Benefits of Respite Care in an Assisted Living Facility

by Jill Kagan, Respite Care Expert
April 06, 2012

Question: What are the benefits of respite care in an assisted living community?

Answer: Respite can be provided through many different in-home or out-of-home models. Family caregivers prefer different models at different times depending on their immediate needs and their reason for respite. At the same time, they must take into consideration the ongoing needs of the care recipient. The benefits should be weighed against the special considerations of the respite setting. Considerations regarding out-of-home models, such as assisted living, might require arrangement for  transportation of the care recipient and movement of any special equipment they may require. These considerations pose physical challenges and may also involve added expense. In addition, the individual receiving care may not like the unfamiliar environment or may have difficulty adjusting to the changes. The assisted living setting may be more restrictive than the care recipient’s home. Overall, such options may be cost prohibitive.

However, assisted living and other out-of-home respite options provide an opportunity for the care recipients to be outside the home. This may be a particularly attractive option for young adults with disabilities who prefer to be with people their own age, or even aging populations with mild to moderate memory loss because it gives them an opportunity to experience new surroundings, different expectations, peer relationships and even cognitive and emotional stimulation. Families are free to enjoy time in their own home without the constraints of constant care, and they can devote more attention to siblings and other family members. Assisted living can be especially attractive since it usually offers overnight, weekend or more extended stays, which can be difficult to find in the community.

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Jill Kagan, MPH, is the Director of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center and Chair of its policy division, the National Respite Coalition. ARCH has been a leader in the areas of respite research and evaluation, training, advocacy, and consumer issues for more than twenty years.

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