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Adult Day Programs Bolster a Strong Caregiving Circle

Being a caregiver is a selfless and rewarding act, yet it can be very daunting as well. You want the best for your loved one, but you can’t always do it alone. Many times the best care comes from a recharged and supported caregiver who has formed an expanded care network. Therefore, it’s important to create a strong caregiver circle that supports you and your loved one’s needs.

Caregiving Resources

There are a number of strategies and resources to lighten the load for caregivers facing burnout but have also made a promise and commitment to helping their aging loved one live in their home for as long as possible. Most importantly, caregivers must take care of themselves. You cannot provide care for someone else if you’re not well yourself. Additionally, build a caregiver circle to counterbalance the care you already provide. Accept and seek help from others including other family members, friends, and or hire professional help/relief.

Engaging or hiring professional assistance comes in many forms, including but not limited to:

Non-medical home care is a great way to supplement the “heavy lifting” that primary caregivers often provide. They can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring and even one-on-one companionship. Respite care provides short term breaks for caregivers ranging from a few hours to a month or more. Home modification, durable medical equipment and technology are also becoming more common by creating a safer home environment through emergency call systems, visual monitoring and simply making the home more handicapped accessible and safe.

However, there is a particular resource from this list that is often overlooked and undervalued. I’m talking about Adult Day Services (ADS). In general terms, adult day services provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. These programs offer relief to family members and caregivers which allows them to go to work, run errands or simply time to relax knowing their loved one is being cared for and safe. This is especially important for loved ones who have dementia and other organic brain syndromes. A safe, secure, stimulating environment is vital to their well-being, in addition to the break it provides caregivers for those with memory and cognition impairment.

Affordable, Flexible and Enriching

One of the greatest advantages adult day programs offer is its affordability. When compared to other forms of assistance, the median cost is very reasonable. According to the Genworth financials 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual median cost of adult day programs nationally is $17,680, compared to the annual cost of assisted living/personal care which sits at $43,539 a year. Adult day programs can also be much more cost effective than non-medical home care for the same number of hours per day coming to the home. The national median daily cost of adult day is $68, which typically provides 8 hours of care, medication administration, a meal, snacks, activities and socialization. Furthermore, most states offer financial assistance through waiver programs and Medicaid.

“Adult day care and adult day health care are, without question, the most economical way to provide supervision and personal care for an elderly loved one on a daily basis.” PayingforSeniorCare.com

Adult day programs are also very flexible. Primary caregivers can have their loved one attend a program like this as many as five days a week or as little as one day per week. Many providers across the country offer full-day and half-day programs. They also have extended hours to allow for early drop-off and late pick up, especially for those caregivers who have long work days.

Adult day programs fill a niche for many older adults who continue to live and focus on aging in place in their own home. For many there’s a part of staying in one’s own home that can actually be detrimental, which is the lack of socialization and stimulation, particularly with their own age bracket and peers. For caregivers and families who have a loved one living at home with them, quite often they can still feel isolated and, in certain cases, trapped in the home. Adult day programs are a great way for these loved ones to still get out, interact with others in similar situations and participate in activities such as exercise, cooking, arts and crafts, special interests and speakers, religious ceremonies, plus intergenerational activities and pet therapy.

Intergenerational activity is a unique and special bonding experience for clients attending Messiah Lifeways Adult Day

Intergenerational activity is a unique and special bonding experience for clients attending Messiah Lifeways Adult Day

This gem of a program provides a great balance for the caregiver and loved one. Again it fortifies the ability to stay at home, but gets them out of the house on a daily basis to a caring and stimulating environment, but happily at the end of the day, they come home and sleep in their bed, in their own home.

If you’d like to learn about the Adult Day Services provided by Messiah Lifeways, please contact the Mechanicsburg location at 717.790.8224 or the Carlisle location at 717.243.0447 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AdultDay.  To search for Adult Day programs throughout the state, visit the PA Dept. of Aging website.

Personal Care Home Staff

Adult Day Services- A Hidden Gem for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a selfless and rewarding act, yet it can be very daunting as well. You want the best for your loved one, but you can’t always do it alone. Many times the “best” care comes from a recharged and supported caregiver who has formed an expanded care network. Therefore, it’s important to create a strong caregiver circle that supports you and your loved one’s needs.

Caregiving resources

There are a number of strategies and resources to lighten the load for caregivers facing burnout but have also made a promise and commitment to helping their aging loved one live in their home for as long as possible. Most importantly, caregivers must take care of themselves. You cannot provide care for someone else if you’re not well yourself. Additionally, build a caregiver circle to counterbalance the care you already provide. Accept and seek help from others including other family members, friends, and professionals.

Engaging or hiring professional assistance comes in many forms, including but not limited to:

Nonmedical home care is a great way to supplement the “heavy lifting” that primary caregivers often provide. They can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring and even one-on-one companionship. Respite care provides short term breaks for caregivers ranging from a few hours to a month or more. Home modification, durable medical equipment and technology are also becoming more common by creating a safer home environment through emergency call systems, visual monitoring and simply making the home more handicapped accessible and safe.

However, there is a particular resource from this list that is often overlooked and undervalued. This hidden gem is Adult Day Services (ADS). In general terms, adult day services provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. These programs offer relief to family members and caregivers which allows them to go to work, run errands or simply time to relax knowing their loved one is being cared for and safe.

Affordable, flexible and stimulating

One of the greatest advantages adult day programs offer is its affordability. When compared to other forms of assistance, the median cost is very reasonable. According to the Genworth financials 2015 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual median cost of adult day programs nationally is $17,904, compared to the annual cost of assisted living/personal care which sits at $43,200 a year. Adult day (AD) programs can also be much more cost effective than if you were to hire nonmedical caregivers for the same number of hours per day coming to the home. The national median daily cost of adult day is $69, which typically provides 8 hours of care, medication administration, a meal, snacks, activities and socialization. Furthermore, most states offer financial assistance through waiver programs and Medicaid.

“Adult day care and adult day health care are, without question, the most economical way to provide supervision and personal care for an elderly loved one on a daily basis.” PayingforSeniorCare.com

Adult day programs are also very flexible. Primary caregivers can have their loved one attend a program like this is many as five days a week or as little as one day per week. Many providers across the country offer full-day and half-day programs. They also have extended hours to allow for early drop-off and late pick up, especially for those caregivers that have long work days.

Adult day programs fill a niche for many older adults who continue to live and focus on aging in place in their own home. For many there’s a part of staying in one’s own home that can actually be detrimental, which is the lack of socialization and stimulation, particularly with their own age bracket and peers. For caregivers and families who have a loved one living at home with them, quite often they can still feel isolated and, in certain cases, trapped in the home. Adult day programs are a great way for these loved ones to still get out, interact with others in similar situations and participate in activities such as exercise, cooking, arts and crafts, special interests and speakers, and even religious ceremonies.

This gem of a program provides a great balance for the caregiver and loved one. Again it fortifies the ability to stay at home, but gets them out of the house on a daily basis to a caring and stimulating environment, but happily at the end of the day, they come home and sleep in their bed, in their own home.

If you’d like to learn about the Adult Day Services provided by Messiah Lifeways, please contact the Mechanicsburg location at 717.790.8224 or the Carlisle location at 717.243.0447 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AdultDay.  Also check out these great testimonials on adult day services.


 

Senior Caregiving Help During the Holidays

Make Caregiving Manageable During the Holidays

Ah, the holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of year- right? As we all know it can be a very busy and stressful time as well. Between the shopping, cooking, and traveling it gets hectic, especially for those who serve as a primary caregiver to a loved one. In particular, the sandwich generation may be caring for an elderly parent and bringing kids back from college for winter break. Caregivers deserve to enjoy Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or Christmas just as much as the next guy, if not more. But sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day.

Whether you need a few good hours to fight the Christmas shopping crowds or plan to travel out of town to spend Christmas with your very first grandchild; is it feasible to do so with a frail loved one living alone, who needs your daily attention? As the holiday season quickly ascends upon us it’s good to know that there are some great options out there for those caring for an aging parent or loved one.

Beat Black Friday Blues

For many shoppers Black Friday is a holiday unto itself. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not, we know that people are determined to get up at the crack of dawn, get the best deals possible, and buy that “gotta have it” doll or action figure for the grandkids, which they will love and play with for approximately 3½ days.  You then realize as you plot your shopping trip, I need to sit with dad while he takes his shower plus restock his weekly pill box, even though he insists he doesn’t need your help.

If you have shopping to do or you’re just plain busy no matter what season it is, several solutions can make your life a bit more manageable.  Let’s explore. First, there are some great technology solutions. An emergency call system, such as Philips Lifeline, can be the difference between your father getting help immediately after falling versus laying there for hours before someone discovers him. The Lifeline Auto-Alert option can even detect a fall and send a signal if the person is knocked unconscious. Philips GoSafe emergency call system works both in the home and out featuring GPS tracking technology. Philips also offers the Philips Medication Dispensing (PMD) System, which can help dad manage his medications safely and effectively. Face time, which is available on most Apple mobile devices, or Skype can be a great way to provide face to face interaction as well to view how dad “looks” today.

If you have aversion to technology, another option is non-medical home care. Hire an aid to come stay with mom or dad for several hours or several days. There are number of non-medical home-care agencies around to pick from. Particularly, Messiah Lifeways at Home offers traditional home-care services like help with bathing, housekeeping, and cooking, but they also provide unique home care services like non skilled home-maintenance like lawn care, minor home repairs, transportation, and even pet and plant care. Another great choice are Adult Day Programs. Messiah Lifeways Adult Day offers a day program where a loved one can come for a full or half day of activities, socialization, meals, plus receive assistance with activities of daily living. These programs are cost effective and offer great flexibility because your loved one can attend once a week or multiple days. What a great gift to give yourself, the gift of time and security.

Peace of Mind for Holiday Travel

As family becomes more spread across the country, it leaves many caregivers with the predicament of traveling versus staying home for the holidays. This is especially true if the person you’re caring for can’t make the 10 hour drive or the cross country flight. This decision is tough. However, if you choose to go away for the holidays or any other time for that matter, a respite stay for the person you care for may be the answer. Respite provides short-term or temporary care and is typically available at most personal care homes or assisted living facilities. As a respite your loved one can receive the same services a permanent resident would, like meals, activities, medication monitoring, and assistance with activities of daily living. You can arrange for the individual to stay for several days up to a month. Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village offers respite in personal care for as little as a five day stay. It provides a safe, secure, and nurturing place for them to spend while you are out of town. Holiday activities and cooking, plus special events like Christmas concerts and celebrations make the time even more enjoyable. Respite can also include a combination of overnights in personal care or adult day services and home care to supplement care. There are many different options to consider.

Additional Holiday Caregiving Tips

Unlike Santa Claus, we do not have magical powers. You cannot be in multiple places in a flash. Ask for help from family and friends and learn how to delegate tasks. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Another thing to consider, and though it may be a hard choice, you may want to re-evaluate old traditions and family rituals that involve lots of travel or preparation time. You should also develop priorities for the things that matter most. You can’t be all things to all people and don’t feeling guilty about the things you cannot change. You should also schedule time to do the things that you like to do around holidays. You deserve to enjoy the holidays too. Set aside time to relax and talk to your loved one about the holidays and really listen to as they reminisce.

For additional information about the many options available to make the holidays more manageable please contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching Office at 717.591.7225 or online at coach@messiahlifeways.org.

Everyone is a Potential Caregiver

The Joy and Pain of Caregiving

Serving as a caregiver for an aging loved one or parent is an incredible act. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the U.S., there are as many as 44 million¹ unpaid caregivers performing these incredible acts every day for someone over the age of 50. That is a huge mass of people serving the needs of an ailing spouse or loved one, where you will find lots of heartwarming, courageous and selfless caregiving stories. You’ll also hear stories of burnout, frustration and despair. Anyone who’s served as a caregiver for a significant amount of time can tell you that it can be wonderful yet woeful, and joyous and painful all at once. It’s assuming a lot of responsibility, which can be unfamiliar and often uncomfortable from handling their finances to helping a parent bathe or get dressed. It’s also a time to discover your own altruism or rekindle the bond between parent and child or between a husband and wife.

I’ve connected with hundreds of caregivers throughout my career including family, friends, but mostly through experiences at work. They hold a special place in my heart. Several years ago I helped develop a workshop created to help caregivers who were stressed and overwhelmed. The goal was to help this constant cycle of individuals avoid burnout and find options and resources to make the task of caregiving for an older adult easier and more manageable.

Everyone Is a Potential Caregiver

In the book “What to Do about Mama?” authors Barb Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank exclaim, “Everyone is a potential caregiver.” So whether you have, are or will be a caregiver at some point in your life you can expect the highs and lows of this process. As you begin to read articles or books like “What to Do about Mama” you begin to see patterns and statistics that paint a very taxing picture. Over two-thirds of caregivers are women, many of whom are in the “sandwich generation,” which means they are caring for a parent or loved one while simultaneously caring for their children. Caregiver.org also states that anywhere from 40-70%² of caregivers suffer from various stages of depression. It also takes its toll on physical health, relationships, and work. Juggling all this can lead to burnout.

However, there is hope. There are a multitude of books, online resources and workshops like the one Messiah Lifeways Coaching offers to help caregivers avoid burnout. One of the most fundamental tools to elude burning out is taking care of YOU. Simply put – you cannot care for someone else if you yourself are ailing or worse. The comparison is often made to being on an airplane, and oxygen masks descend during an emergency. The rule is to place your oxygen mask on first and then assist those who need help. It’s a simple concept, but quite often forgotten.

Another important choice is seeking and accepting help from others. So often, women especially, think they can run all of mom’s errands, provide her the care she needs and drop in all hours of the day without the help of anyone else. It’s noble, but can be quite foolish as well. Ask others for help or hire help, plus take people up on their offers to help because eventually they may stop asking.

Caregiver support groups are also a very valuable asset in the effort of avoiding feeling overwhelmed, depressed or inadequate. They serve as great outlets to gain support from those who know what you’re going through. It’s a time to share, laugh and cry, to console, validate and commiserate. Jeanne McClintick RN, CHLPN from Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, runs several local caregiver support groups and shares wonderful supportive stories between members. She also states many participants continue to attend these groups even after the person they care for passes. It’s a way for them to heal and to help others new to the caregiving arena. So whether you chose to be or are thrust into the position of caregiver, do not take it lightly; however, do not fret. Remembering some of these tips along with other resources and insight can make it a better situation for all involved.

For more caregiver support and resources read “What to Do about Mama?” or visit cargiver.org or alz.org. If you’d like to attend The Caregiver Solutions Workshop on September 22, 2015 at the Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church, call 717.591.7225 or go to MessiahLifeways.org/Events.

¹Alzheimer’s Association, 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Vol.7, Issue 2.] – Updated: November 2012
²Zarit, S. (2006) Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective in Family Caregiver Alliance (Eds.), Caregiver Assessment: Voices and Views from the Field. Report from a National Consensus Development Conference (Vol. II) (pp. 12-37). San Francisco: Family Caregiver Alliance.] – Updated: November 2012
Senior Resisting Talking about Retirement Home

Tackling a Tough Conversation


Several weeks ago I hosted one of our regular Coaching workshops entitled “How to Have the Talk.” It was designed for those with an ailing or aging loved one in need of care, but may be struggling because he or she is resistant to change and accepting help. This issue is pretty common and can be a challenge for family members and caregivers to broach. The goal of the workshop is to help them overcome those challenges, think more proactively, offer ideas and resources to help them through the process and to frame the conversation itself. I want to share some of the tips and insight from that workshop.


As loved ones age and possibly become more frail and dependent, there’s often a transference of roles that we might come to expect. The adult child takes on the role of parent or caretaker, and their aging parent becomes the dependent. This change can also contribute to the anxiety and avoidance of talking to a parent about their loss of independence, overall decline, and ultimately their need for help. This undoubtedly is a trying and emotional time for everyone involved.

This shift can start very slowly such as driving mom to a doctor’s appointment or helping dad with housekeeping or meals. And in most often this extra help and attention is welcomed and appreciated. However, for some, this change is more difficult, especially as setbacks escalate due to declining health, early dementia or even the death of a spouse who served as the primary caregiver. At this juncture things may start to deteriorate quickly. So not having an open and honest conversation about what their needs, wants and desires are can produce some bad outcomes. The following offers some insight and advice for this difficult dialogue.

When should you initiate the talk?

Though everyone’s situation is different, there are some red flags to key in on, especially if there is one or more of these issues with others on the horizon.

  • isolation/depression
  • decrease in appetite
  • poor hygiene
  • increased falls/bruising
  • significant cognitive decline
  • increased medical needs/hospitalizations
  • increased medication errors
  • inability to manage household/finances
  • you experience caregiver burnout

Talking tips

Most would assume you’d actually include your loved one in the dialogue; however, quite often they are being talked about rather than being talked to. So, step one, include them in this process. Once you initiate the conversation, it’s important for you and them to share concerns, hopes, wishes and desires. This discussion also deserves to be scheduled in a comfortable distraction-free environment. Both parties’ full attention, privacy and openness is essential during the talk.

The most vital aspect of this conversation is to have it sooner rather than later. There is no room for procrastination when it comes to the health and safety of a loved one. It is also helpful to get support from their family doctor, as well as other family members. It’s important to have a united front where everyone is on the same page about mom’s or dad’s plan of care. Though easier said than done, you should also be persistent, a good listener and not argue. Lastly, stay positive, reframe the conversation and be specific. Some examples include the following:

  • Instead of “Dad, you are horrible driver!” try “Dad, I am concerned about your safety while driving, especially at night or when it rains.”
  • Instead of “Mom, you’re not eating enough!” try “Mom, I’m concerned about your 15 lb weight loss in the last four months.”
  • Instead of “You can’t take care of yourself – it’s time to move to a facility!” try “Have you ever considered moving to a retirement community? Let’s go visit or have lunch there.”

Many of these tips and approaches can be applied to getting your loved one care and services into the home, as well as talking to them about moving to a retirement community or care facility. Being proactive and preaching preparedness is much easier when they are in better health, in a better state of mind and when they can have more decision making power and control over their future.

If you would like to learn more about this and other Coaching workshops or would like more tips, please contact the Messiah Lifeways Coach at 717.591.7225 or coach@MessiahLifeways.org

Frog in a Frying Pan

I love metaphors and analogies. Just ask my wife, I use them all the time, and it drives her crazy. But to me, metaphors are a great way to make brief, colorful and descriptive points, such as “I’m happier than a pig in mud!” Now that’s happy. They can also help someone visualize life’s challenges and difficulties such as feeling like a “fish out of water” or one I hear more and more often, feeling like a “frog in a frying pan.” This metaphor often epitomizes caregivers.

One such example is a woman who has been caring for her mother for the last 7+ years. Her mother was diagnosed with dementia and moved in with her and her husband. In addition to being a fulltime caregiver to her mother, she also home schools her three young children, not to mention all the other responsibilities she has as a wife and mother. She is your classic “sandwich generation” caregiver and self-admitted “frog in a frying pan.”

frog

uh..is it hot in here or is it just me?

She described feeling like the frog in a frying pan, based on the proverb– place a frog in the frying pan then gradually turn up the heat and it won’t jump out. Instead it stays put, continually adapting and adjusting to the heat until they get burned or worse! That’s how she and many other caregivers often feel. They take on the role of caregiver and don’t recognize that the gradual pressure and stress is “frying” them mentally, emotionally and even physically. They need to learn how to avoid getting burned, jump out of the pan and ask another “frog” for help or seek other solutions.

One of the first steps of avoiding caregiver burnout is to simply realize you are in fact a caregiver. Often spouses or adult children get into the habit of helping or doing little things for their loved one and, bam, several months or years later it has become their daily routine. It consumes them and can monopolize their time away from other important things in life. Caregiver burnout is a real epidemic. Otherwise all the books, articles, and websites dedicated to helping caregivers wouldn’t exist.

Realizing it is a problem and looking for solutions is great a starting point. How can you seek help or a solution if you don’t even realize the problem? But once you realize it, you’ll soon discover there are many resources out there dedicated to helping caregivers. Listed below is a sampling of a few great websites and some other local resources that include articles, financial assistance, checklists, support groups, and many other tools to combat caregiver burnout. (click on the links below)

www.agis.com
www.carepennsylvania.org
www.caregiving.com
www.eldercare.gov
www.alz.org
Cumberland County Aging and Community Services
Cumberland County Family Caregiver Support Program
Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging
Dauphin County Family Caregiver Support Program
Hospice of Central PA Support Group Calendar

Please also consider attending our Caregiver’s Workshop at Messiah Village on September 4, 2014. The workshop was designed for those seeking options, resources, and support as caregivers. We will examine ways to identify and reduce caregiver burnout and explore available resources and support. Plus, the workshop will also include the “Caregiving Panel” for a question and answer session with local care-giving experts.

Originally posted August, 2013- Revised August 2014
by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach, BASW, CCP

”What to Do about Mama”- Book Review

Everyone is a potential caregiver – BGM & BTB

We have not done a book review in quite a while on the blog page. However, What to Do about Mama is categorically worth the read. It should not only capture the attention of previous and current caregivers, but it can also provide a potential glimpse into the future for nearly all of us. As the book states, “everyone is a potential caregiver” either for an aging parent, spouse, sibling as well as a disabled child, client, friend, or neighbor. The role of caregiver could be as short as a few weeks or for others it could last decades. Nonetheless, very few of us will ever be devoid of this altruistic and challenging role.

Co-authors Barbara G. Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank open their hearts and bear their souls to share their challenging, heart wrenching, and insightful journeys as caregivers. Their personal stories, along with a host of other caregiving contributors, give detailed perspective on this physical, mental, and emotional roller coaster that it entails. Readers should heed the warning of how expectations, sharing responsibility, and the relationship between other family members can really deteriorate and/or shift. Furthermore, it highlights many of the unexpected realities of caregiving such as dealing with financial, legal, and medical issues of the care recipient.

Affirmation is also a big part of this book, particularly for those who served as a caregiver in the past. The relatable experiences can provide some absolution from the feelings of guilt, resentment, or remorse while “in the trenches.” If someone felt inadequate or felt guilty, What to Do about Mama shows that they are human and they should be proud of the job they did. For some of the contributors, I think the book was also a way to get those negative feelings off their chest without feeling judged. It helped them move beyond those difficult memories and to remember more of the joyful ones spent with their loved one.

For current caregivers, this is must read. As the authors express, this is not a caregiving textbook, and it is not written by “caregiving experts” but rather a guide featuring a collection of experiences and insights for caregivers by caregivers. It provides real world scenarios, anecdotes, and support to those in the position of caregiver. It tells the tale of what to do, what not to do, what did or didn’t work for them or what could work for you. They also reference funding sources as well as other resources to help your loved one age in place.

Lastly, the book also goes beyond caregiving in the here and now. It examines the residual effects of caregiving even after the loved one has passed, including the emotional aspect, relationships between survivors, and some of the legal and financial issues that can linger.

I recommend What to Do about Mama for anyone faced with the sometimes rewarding and sometimes unenviable task of caregiving for which most of us will encounter at some point in our lives. If you would like to learn more about this book as well as other resources to help caregivers manage and embrace the role along with avoiding caregiver burnout, please call the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717.591.7225 or email coach@messiahlifeways.org.

 

R-E-S-P-I-T-E: Find Out What it Means to Me

If you’d now like to get Aretha Franklin’s voice out of your head, follow me toward a completely different direction or at least to a circuitous segue for today’s blog. We’re talking about r-e-s-p-i-t-e and what it can mean to you – the caregiver, the ever-loving and devoted spouse or family member, dedicated and entrusted to the care of an aging parent or dependent loved one.

First, what does respite mean? Primarily it refers to taking or getting a break from a difficult or arduous ongoing task. And for some the “task of caregiving” can often lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and in some cases caregiver burnout. So getting a break or respite is so important for caregivers. Many spouses and adult children have made the promise to take care of their husband or wife or parent at home indefinitely. But as valiant as that promise is, over a few years, months or even weeks, caregiving can take its toll on your health, along with your mental and emotional well-being. Fortunately, respite can be an extremely helpful way to stave off burnout and revitalize or prolong a person’s ability to take care someone that needs the help. It’s a tool that all caregivers should use or at least explore.

For those familiar with the term, the most prevalent form of respite care is having your loved one stay at a personal care home or an assisted living residence for a week or two, while you take a well-deserved vacation or an out of town business trip. Messiah Village offers such a program, and it’s a great option in the battle against burnout. However, there are two other options that can also help counterbalance the stress and impact that being a caregiver entails. Those options include non-medical home care and adult day programs. These services are not as closely associated with respite compared to overnight respite care programs, but they are without a doubt as vital, valuable and many times less expensive than respite in a facility.

Adult Day programs offer flexibility for caregivers who may still work or also have young children to care for at home. Fortunately the aging loved one, who cannot stay home alone, can come to an adult day program for up to 8 hours, while the caregiver is out of the house. At the end of the day the most satisfying fact is that the person in need has received the care, attention and stimulation they need during the day, but return home come evening time. Equally satisfying is that the caregiver gets the respite time they need or desire. Most programs, such as our very own Messiah Lifeways Adult Day program, offer full day and half day programs as well one day or multiple day options. It’s also one of the most affordable types of care out there, with the national average of $70/day and $60/day in Pennsylvania¹ for 8 hours of care.

Another form of respite is non-medical home care. Just as Adult Day can break up the day or supplement the duties of the primary caregiver, home care does the same and can be used in multiple ways and time frames. Whether it’s needed several hours here or there, at bedtime or bath time, in the middle of the night or on weekends, home care can offset the daily tasks and challenges a caregiver faces each day. Providers like Messiah Lifeways At Home can also take the burden out of responsibilities like cooking, housekeeping, and grocery shopping for an aging parent, especially for those “sandwiched” between taking care of mom and taking care of their kids. Though more expensive on a hour by hour basis than adult day, home care in Pennsylvania averages a doable rate of $21/hour, which also happens to be the national average².

The great thing about respite is that it’s not necessarily there to replace you as the caregiver, but rather to supplement your hard work and efforts and to help keep you from running yourself ragged.

And lastly don’t forget to sing…

R-E-S-P-I-T-E
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB, Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

To learn more about respite options available through Messiah Lifeways, call 717.790.8209. Also if you’d like to learn more about reducing caregiver burnout, join us for the next Coaching Workshop entitled “Caregiver Solutions” scheduled for Wednesday, September 18, 2013. To learn more or to RSVP, please call 717.591-7225 or online at messiahlifeways.org/events.

¹&² The 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs- November 2012