What is Respite Care and is it Available at Your Local Assisted Living Community?

Respite care at an assisted living facility can be helpful for family caregivers.

Respite care at an assisted living facility can be helpful for family caregivers.

If you’re like most Americans, you haven’t heard about respite care at assisted living facilities. Most of us tend to think of assisted living as a permanent, long-term solution. We don’t think of it as short-term, even for just a few hours at a time. However, for those facilities that provide respite care, seniors might be able to enjoy a few days at a quality assisted living facility, maybe even just overnight, for a while.


What does respite care offer aging seniors?

When you’re talking about assisted living, many people have preconceived notions about what it is and what it offers. They have a tendency to associate it with other types of facility-style care. However, assisted living provides an opportunity for elderly men and women to live a high quality of life with support when needed.

Respite care can allow seniors and their family caregivers or other individuals who are helping them to get a break. If a family member who is acting as a caregiver goes on vacation but the senior doesn’t want to or can’t travel with them, for example, they can move into an assisted living facility for a week or two and enjoy all the benefits that the facility provides.

Somebody who wants to remain home but may have difficulty during the overnight hours can be dropped off in the evening, sleep at the assisted living community, and then be picked up in the morning and return home or to a senior center, for example.

As you can see, respite care at assisted living provides many wonderful opportunities for elderly men and women to get the support they need when family members are away or not available.


How can you find out more about respite care locally?

Contact a local assisted living community and find out what types of respite care they may provide. Some may offer respite care but might not be available because they are booked. Others may not offer this type of option at all. They may be more focused on permanent, long-term residents.

If you are a family caregiver and have been struggling as of late because of the constant stress and pressure of taking on the job, a respite care option at a local assisted living community could be exactly what you and that senior need for a while.

Some facilities may provide respite care options for residents for just a few days a week, even for many months. Some may offer several weeks. Others may allow residents to stay there for a few months, then return home or move on to the next option.


What limitations are placed on seniors who take advantage of respite care?

Will there be activities or other options that seniors cannot participate in at the local assisted living community when they rely on respite care? That would be a question for the specific facility, and each is different, but there may be some limitations.

For example, a senior who takes advantage of overnight stays at a local facility may not be able to eat at the on-site restaurant. There could be an extra charge, or they may be dropped off too late for that to be practical.

Seniors who are staying only at the facility at night may also not participate in certain activities that take place during the day.


The best thing anyone can do is to contact the local facility as soon as possible when you realize that respite care would be a wonderful option for you or somebody you love and ask these questions. Remember that just because one facility says no, that doesn’t mean all of them are the same. The same holds true that if one says yes, that doesn’t mean all of them are going to permit the same options.



If you or an aging loved one are considering a move to an Assisted Living facility near Saraland, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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