Caregiving can be a highly demanding and stressful responsibility. Whilst allowing their loved one to remain in the home, it takes a lot of dedication and focus to continue to provide the level of care they require. Sometimes a caregiver needs a break, either a holiday to rest and recuperate from their ongoing responsibilities or due to their own health problems or other matters they need to attend to.
Respite care provides a short-term break for caregivers that can relieve their stress, renew their energy and restore a sense of balance to their lives. It gives them a period of freedom from caregiving duties, knowing their loved ones will continue to receive the care they require in a safe, caring and professional environment.
Another reason an elderly person may go into respite care in an aged care facility is to try out the facility. It gives them an opportunity to experience the high level of professional care, social activities and companionship an aged care home can provide. They will generally only be in respite care for a few weeks and quite often they enjoy their time there so much they ask to move in permanently.
Caregivers commonly use respite care when:
They need to travel.
They need a break.
Their loved one wants a trial for a senior community.
Their loved one needs a change of pace.
The need to help their loved one ease into permanent senior living.
The term “respite care” is not covered under the NDIS, this has caused stress to some caregivers who need to have a break and whose loved ones are receiving an NDIS package of support. Carers Victoria spoke to the NDIS who assured them they do support carers; their CEO Rob de Luca said “As part of the NDIS, we understand the importance of providing carers with the opportunity like all families to take a break from time to time – to sustain their capacity to provide informal supports to NDIS participants. Supports funded in NDIS plans include Short Term Accommodation (STA), in-home supports, community access and personal care – all of which are designed to support participants and reduce the demands on carers.”
I am an Aged Care Placement Consultant and have seen clients of mine go into respite care either to try it out or to provide their carer with a break and enjoy their time there so much they decide to move to an aged care facility permanently. These people usually transfer very successfully to their new home.
I recently attended a networking lunch hosted by Home Instead Brighton held at The Crescent in Brighton with guest speaker author Ngaire Hobbins. I found Ngaire’s presentation very informative as it highlighted the role of food for the older person living at home or in residential care. We were treated to a lovely tasting lunch with recipes from her book ‘Better Brain Food: eat to cheat dementia and cognitive decline.’ The Chef at The Crescent prepared the dishes from Michelle Crawford’s delightful recipes used in the book.
Ngaire Hobbins, APD, BSc., Dip. Nutrition and Diet, is a dietitian and researcher with a special passion for geriatric nutrition. She is committed to ensuring that the frail elderly have the very best food possible available to them. Most people – be they frail or fighting fit – are unaware that public health messages which are ideal for younger adults can instead be unhelpful, even harmful, for those entering their senior years. In the science section of the book Ngaire offers insight on the importance of the gut-brain axis and looks at the pros and cons of the latest ‘superfoods’ and diet trends. She also advises what food should be eaten in each decade as a person ages to boost brain health.
‘Better Brain Food’is an important read, especially for anyone involved in aged care residential support as it discusses the science of nutrition and cognitive health and provides seventy tasty recipes based on this science, making it easy to follow Ngaire’s advice. Having visited many aged care facilities in my time as a Placement Consultant I know how important food is to the residents. For their ongoing health and well-being they should be served delicious meals that are nutritious and boost their brain health. This book will be an invaluable resource to this end.
Four Corners and Fairfax Media have recently reported on a story about retirement village living which is worrying. My advice to anyone contemplating entering a retirement village is that they should first speak with their family and let them know what they are planning before entering into any contract. They should also seek legal advice about the details of any contract they contemplate entering into, seeking clarification on not only the financial aspects of the contract but also looking at the fine print on lifestyle regulations. This is good practice for any contract, but particularly in the instance of retirement living as the stakes are so high.
Aged Care is not a trademark and any organisation can state they provide aged care. It’s important to understand the difference between private retirement living companies who advertise that they provide aged care and Government funded aged care.
Checking out all aspects of a retirement village or aged care facility is extremely important. This is one of the reasons clients use my aged care consultancy services.They know they will have a professional who will find them the right place to live in their later years and that I will thoroughly assess the suitability of each option. I recommend that my clients seek further professional input from their legal advisors and financial planners experienced in the aged care field.
During my career as an Aged Care Placement Consultant I have seen many cases where a knowledgeable Financial Planner has given advice to a client that has made a positive difference to the type of accommodation they were able to acquire. I care very much for the welfare of all my clients and do not want to see them suffer as they make these very challenging transitions in life from their own home to a retirement village or an aged care facility.