• Senior Living

How Respite Care Can Be Used to Test Drive Assisted Living

May 3, 2021
Moving your parents or loved one to assisted living is a decision that requires a lot of thought and research.

Moving your parents or loved one to assisted living is a decision that requires a lot of thought and research. There are so many different aspects of an assisted living community to consider that without visiting communities, there’s no real way to know if it meets all your requirements, or if you, your parents or loved one will even like it. One of the ways to get a better picture of what assisted living is like in a given community is to take advantage of their respite care program. A short respite stay will give you and your loved ones an idea as to what the community is like, what services they offer, and if it’s the right choice for them.

What Is Respite Care?

When senior caregivers start to experience caregiver burnout, respite care is a safe option they can turn to that provides quality care and gives caregivers a break. Respite care is short-term substitute care that provides temporary relief, or respite, for caregivers. Brief breaks are essential for caregivers to be able to continue providing quality care while juggling life’s many responsibilities. A typical respite stay lasts between a few days to two weeks, though longer-term stays lasting several weeks are available.  

Respite care can be tailored to the needs of individual seniors, but you’ll generally find a standard set of services offered. Medication management, assistance with activities of daily living, meal preparation, transportation, and supervision and companionship are the cornerstones of respite care services.


Test Driving Assisted Living Through Respite Care

One of the more popular questions seniors ask when seeking caregiver assistance is, “Do assisted living facilities provide respite care?” The short answer is it varies. Many continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and Life Plan Communities that offer assisted living also offer respite care. Others might offer respite care as a separate service, or not at all. In CCRCs that do offer assisted living respite care, there’s a unique opportunity for seniors to get firsthand experience in how assisted living looks and feels.

In respite care in a senior living community with assisted living, short-stay respite residents may have access to the community’s services and amenities in addition to care services. Taking advantage of this access is ideal for seniors to see if they would enjoy their lifestyle as a full-time resident. It’s also a great chance to meet other residents and see if they would fit in. Additionally, this temporary residency is an opportunity for the senior and their family members to get to know community team members who would be providing care on a day-to-day basis.

Questions to Ask The Assisted Living Community

If you choose to use respite care as a test run option for assisted living, consider asking the following questions of community leaders, staff and residents. The answers should provide a good foundation for making an even more informed decision.

Could I or my parents or loved one envision moving to and living in this community?

Does the community provide the appropriate levels of care needed?

Is the community licensed and inspected regularly by a governmental organization like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services?

Does the assisted living community have activities that are important to me? 

Do residents feel free to live life as they have been and keep to their preferred schedule?

Does this assisted living community fit my or my parent’s or loved one’s personality? Can I see myself making friends here?

What are all the services provided in assisted living care?

What contract types does the community offer? How does the cost stack up against in-home care?

What meal plans and dining services are offered?

How does the community keep the families of residents informed about their well-being and any changes to community services?

What is the monthly fee for living in the community? How would this fee change if additional services are required or requested?

Overall, using respite care in an assisted living community as a test run to moving there more permanently can help reduce the stress of moving, and make you and your loved ones feel more comfortable and confident in your decision.

Find Your Assisted Living Community

Deciding the next steps for yourself or an aging loved one is never an easy process. But Life Care Services® is here to make it easier. Finding the right assisted living for your specific situation takes research, planning and patience. Using respite care as a test to see if an assisted living community is the right fit is an excellent option for many. If you’d like to learn more about senior living communities in the Life Care Services family or want more information on senior living research, don’t hesitate to contact us through our website any time.

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