“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.”

– Dalai Lama

As a resource center, Memory Matters seeks to help people understand the options that are in our community for home care, day care, and placing a loved one in an assisted living or memory care facility. The organization is experiencing a great increase of people needing help to guide them about these very difficult decisions.

As much as caregivers need a rest from their 24/7 responsibilities, the decision to have their loved one taken care of by someone other than themselves is very difficult.

There are several options to consider for respite care. However, it is important for the caregivers to do their homework when considering a place for respite care to assure the safety and happiness of their loved one.

Choices for respite could include day care, home care, or respite care for a month or more in a facility. I hope this information is will be helpful.

Adult Day Care provides older adults an opportunity to get out of the house and receive both mental and physical stimulation. Day programs can be dementia specific or a mixed population and are usually three to five hours.

If your loved one has a form of dementia, it is ideal to look for a program that is dementia specific where communication, behavioral and emotions needs are met in a dignified, failure-free manner.

A well-run adult day care center will focus on enriching the participants’ lives and building up their unique abilities and strengths.

Other considerations are CPR trained staff, proper licensing, and even the physical layout of the building.

Does the center offer a safe environment? Does the activity room have ample space for the participants to move about with minimum danger of falling and is the room well lit? Is the furniture sturdy and does it offer support? Are the bathrooms handicapped equipped?

Home care should be provided by a reputable and bonded business. Questions that should be asked during an interview:

  • Is the agency bonded and insured?
  • Are background checks done on each employee and does the agency do random drug testing?
  • May I see a list of references, both personal and business?
  • What type of training does the agency provide their employees?

Assisted Living Memory Care facilities can offer respite for up to up to 30 days. Questions and observations:

  • Is the facility compliant with state and local regulatory agencies?
  • Does the facility look clean and homey?
  • Is there an RN on staff?
  • How many meals are served daily?
  • Is there around-the-clock security?
  • What is the ratio of residents to caregivers both during the day and evening?

If you are considering a respite stay for your loved, let Memory Matters help. Our staff is knowledgeable about local resources. Take time for yourself, knowing there are some great options for your loved one.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org www.memory-matters.org