Choosing an assisted living facility for an aging loved one can be an overwhelming process. How do you know if you’re making the right decision? There is one way to gain valuable piece of mind while helping older adults smoothly transition to a senior living environment if and when the time arises: try a respite stay. Many communities offer 5 to 30-day trials aimed at helping seniors and their caregivers determine whether assisted living is right for them.
Four reasons why an assisted living respite stay might be the best first step.
1. It Eliminates Fear of the Unknown
Older adults often struggle with fears related to losing control and having their independence stripped away. Perhaps no situation brings these feelings to the surface quite like the thought of leaving a beloved home to move into a senior community. Whether your aging loved one is recovering from a hospital stay and unable to return home yet or simply showing signs that living alone may no longer be the safest option, respite stays offer a temporary way to introduce older adults to assisted living life without forcing a commitment.
Also, because most seniors and their caregivers have preconceived notions about senior communities, taking advantage of a respite stay can minimize confusion while maximizing clarity.
2. It Helps Older Adults Be Part of the Decision-Making Process
No one likes having their decisions made for them. Not to mention that a growing body of research points to the tremendous value of patient engagement in promoting optimal healthcare outcomes. The takeaway? The more active and involved seniors are in the decision-making process — both in regards to their medical care and their personal lives — the more likely they are to eventually accept and embrace a move to assisted living.
3. It Can Tip the Scales
If you’ve been struggling to get your aging loved one to consider moving into a senior living community, a 30-day trial run can be viewed as a compromise. It may also satisfy your loved one’s curiosity while allowing him to maintain a sense of control.
4. Health Benefits Abound
In addition to expanding your loved one’s social circles, respite care may also come with other benefits, such as access to physical or outpatient therapies designed to help improve his quality of life. While these may be difficult to introduce into the home setting, they can be easily integrated into the new environment of an assisted living community.
One last thing to keep in mind? Because many family members struggle with the daily demands of providing 24/7 care for their aging loved ones, respite stays don’t exclusively benefit prospective residents. Whether you have vacation plans or simply need a break, temporary respite care can be an invaluable lifeline for resource for senior caregivers.