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Using Respite Care For Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s Disease

Using Respite Care for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a formidable affliction that quietly moves in and steadily takes over a life. People affected by Alzheimer’s suffer symptoms including memory loss and confusion, both of which will worsen over time. However, early stages and later stages require consistent care and attention as current medicines can only control symptoms of the disease. Caregivers charged with watching over an Alzheimer’s patient face a great deal of work and at some point, they simply need help.

A critical key to successful continued care is to build a strong local support system. This system might include an area Alzheimer’s association, a caregiver support group, family and friends, or faith-based groups. Respite care is another invaluable tool for caregivers.

What is Respite Care?

True to its name, respite care offers a much-needed break to regular caregivers. Also referred to as in-home care, this type of assistance provides a wide range of services in the home, allowing a patient to remain there rather than at a hospital or health care facility. Keep in mind that not all respite care services are the same. Some offer basic, non-medical help in the home such as assistance with daily living tasks. Other forms of respite care provide full medical care provided by a licensed nurse or physical therapist professional. Here are some common types in in-home services:

  • Personal care services help with general tasks including bathing, bathroom needs, dressing, eating, and exercising.
  • Homemaker services offer assistance with everyday housekeeping, preparing meals, shopping, and other household-based needs.
  • Companion services help a patient through supervision, getting out for recreational activities, or simply visiting when needed.
  • Skilled care services are more complex and involve assistance with caring for wounds, physical therapy, injections, and other specialized needs. Most often, a physician prescribes this service and a local home health care agency coordinates the process.

Why Choose Respite Care?

Caregiving for an Alzheimer’s patient demands patience and endurance; respite care provides a caregiver time to step away and relax in a different environment. This care option allows the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, take care of errands that pile up (shopping, exercise, doctor visits, buying groceries), and allows peace of mind knowing the patient is in good hands.

At the same time, respite care provides the patient opportunity to interact with others in a similar situation, get involved with strategically-designed activities to match personal ability, and remain in a controlled and safe environment.

Many respite care facilities or programs allow a patient to be with others and take part in music and art programs, with the option of staying overnight, a few days or several weeks. Overnight care is especially helpful in allowing the primary caregiver to take an extended break or even a longer vacation.

Concerns of Respite Care

One of the biggest concerns of respite care is cost. While it can be expensive, financial assistance is available through scholarships, government programs, and various fee scales. Working with a flexible in-home care provider like Family Matters In-Home Care can also ensure you only get help when needed, which can keep care affordable. Reliability is another big concern as you want to be absolutely sure regarding the dependability of a respite care service.

Be sure to ask individuals and facilities about their qualifications and always conduct thorough interviews with individual caregivers. We also have a helpful PDF to help you ask the right questions and ensure you find the right in-home care provider for your needs: A Guide to Choosing an In-Home Care Company.


If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater San Diego, and now Oregon, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices in Campbell, CAPleasanton, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, San Mateo, CA, and Portland, OR.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.