How to choose the right place for respite care

An older man is being helped by a carer. He is balding and wears his wedding ring on a chain around his neck.

How to choose the right place for respite care

It can often be difficult for family members to help loved ones through time in respite care. How do you reassure them when the future is a little uncertain? How do you know what is the right decision for them? Carol Lyddiard, service manager at Uniting Elizabeth Gates Singleton says that although every case is different, there are some tips to offer family members.

Provide encouragement and support

If a resident is in respite care because of a fall, it’s important to support and encourage their rehabilitation. Everyone is given an assessment when they first arrive at a Uniting home, they are reviewed by a physiotherapist and a GP. Family members can assist by helping with any physio tasks the resident has been given and encourage their loved one to do them often. At first, it may seem unlikely that they will return home, but with the right level of dedication, this can be a possibility for some residents.

Be honest with them

It may feel as though you’re protecting a loved one by promising they’ll go home soon, but often it adds to their confusion. Being honest with them opens up the opportunity to discover what they want. For example, some residents come in for respite to give the family carer a break and often realise they are having more fun than at home. At Uniting Elizabeth Gates Singleton activities include gardening, shopping, knitting clubs, book groups, computer games, animal shearing and the care of the home’s alpacas, sheep, cats, birds, chickens and fish. Many residents enjoy their respite stay so much they’d like it to become permanent, but go along with the idea of returning home because they feel that’s what their family wants.

Watch out for changes over their stay

Staff are all trained to pick up on things which can help your loved one in ways you haven’t even thought about.

Many family members say their loved one doesn’t eat well at home, yet over a respite stay where they have a social setting around food, they are more likely to eat. They can also have things assessed like wearing the correct footwear to prevent falls. Often shoes that are easy to slip on and off can lead to accidents.

Allow them to say goodbye to their old life

If the decision is made that they will move to the residential care home permanently, allow the resident to be part of the packing up and selling of their home where possible. This allows the resident to accept they are saying goodbye to an old part of their life and embracing a new one.

Get in touch

Uniting provides a range of aged care services across NSW and the ACT including residential aged care, home and community aged care and retirement living. To find out more about the retirement and aged care options that Uniting can offer call us on 1 800 864 846 or email us.

This story originally appeared in the Newcastle Herald.

  • Joseph Stainly
    Posted at 23:21h, 27 October Reply

    You are right. It is everyone’s duty to make sure seniors are living an easy and comfortable life while in respite care. Thanks for sharing.

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