What is Respite Care?

Many seniors who are not ready for full-time assisted living may still benefit from respite care. But what is respite care? Often, seniors and their families or caregivers don’t really understand what senior respite care is and miss out on taking advantage of this wonderful option.


Unlike assisted living, memory care, or other kinds of residential living options, respite care is short-term. A respite stay can be as short as a day or as long as several months, or anywhere in between. Seniors enjoying respite enjoy the same perks as long-term residents, including delicious food, socialization and activities, and 24/7 access to help and support.

Benefits of Respite Care for Seniors

Many families learn about respite care after a senior family member develops a medical need. Recovery from an illness, injury, or surgery can take longer for seniors, and self-care may be more difficult.

Respite care in an assisted living residence is a good way to get short-term help with activities of daily living (ADLs) including bathing, dressing, medication management, and handling mobility challenges. Once a senior has recuperated enough to manage these things without help again, they return home. There’s no long-term commitment; just the confidence and security of having an extra helping hand while it’s needed.

For other seniors, these challenges with ADLs are usually met by a family caregiver. When that caregiver needs to travel or take a break, respite provides a worry-free, safe place to go.

Benefits of Respite Care for Caregivers

Sometimes, a senior isn’t the one who needs respite. Respite is a resource for family caregivers. Sadly, many families aren’t aware that respite is available to them.

Home caregiving is often like a full-time job that you take on in addition to all the other responsibilities of life. No matter how willing you are, how much you love your parent, and how sure you are that it’s the right thing to do, the extra stress is real.

One of the most important things that family members can do to make sure that they are able to continue to provide top-level care for their parents is to care for themselves. While it may seem that you should never take a break, keeping your own stress and fatigue under control is key. Senior caregiving is a marathon, not a race, and it’s important to pace yourself.

Family caregivers may use respite to:

  • Complete home or work projects that require unbroken focus or attention
  • Rest and rejuvenate with extra sleep, spa time, exercise classes, or a night out
  • Travel for business
  • Take a relaxing vacation
  • Spend time with friends

Taking the time to enjoy these kinds of activities helps maintain energy, motivation, and a sense of identity while caregiving. Good mental health care, rest, and regular breaks help prevent caregiver burnout, which is a serious problem for family caregivers to be aware of.

Are you interested in learning more about respite or scheduling a respite stay at Fairhaven Denton? Click here now to get started.