“The word respite means different things to different folks. Think of respite as a short-term stay at an assisted living facility that adult caregivers can use when they’re taking a vacation or have a family event they want to attend,” says Joann Gallant, Executive Director of Kindred Assisted Living – Monarch Center in Saco, Maine.Using Respite Care While Going on Vacation

Gallant highly recommends that caregivers plan ahead and give an assisted living facility time to get to know the person they will be caring for, whether the stay is for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Developing a relationship with a care facility also offers greater peace of mind so the caregiver can better enjoy and rejuvenate while away.

For a respite stay, staff will need information about medications and physicians as well as power of attorney and socialization needs. Respite residents are also encouraged to bring photos, a favorite afghan or other items that will make their stay more comfortable.

“If the person has never played bingo before, we’re not going to take them to a game,” explains Gallant. “And it also helps if we know if they have coffee and cereal at a certain hour in the morning, so we will follow that routine as much as possible. I like to say that respite is an adult-care amenity with a hotel twist.”

Gallant recommends touring a care facility and meeting key staff beforehand to make sure they provide the services needed. Because her facility is a secure setting, it is also equipped to care for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“People struggle with guilt when they leave someone behind, but a break will only make them a better caregiver when they come back,” adds Gallant, who is an adult decision-maker herself and has a real appreciation of the issues. “Respite care is more affordable than most people think, and Kindred doesn’t require a minimum 30-day stay as other providers often do.”