From Rehab to Respite: Benefits of Respite Care After a Rehab Stay

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Your loved one is getting discharged from a Medicare rehab stay. You’re relieved — they’re OK! — and stressed. Now what?

Many family caregivers find themselves in this situation: An elderly loved one has an (often unexpected) hospitalization that lands them in rehab — a fall that breaks a leg, for example.  

They no longer need to be in rehab, but their house is not conducive to life with a broken leg. Or no one is able to provide care at home because they have a job or live too far away. And if the senior has already experienced a hospitalization, it can be scary thinking about all the what-ifs.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a place your loved one could go where they could get the care they need, not have to think about cooking and cleaning, maybe meet a few new people — and give you time to figure out what to do next?  

Fortunately, there is: a respite stay at an assisted living community. Here’s a look at seven benefits of respite care after a Medicare rehab stay. 

1. No Strings Attached

A respite stay typically lasts a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days — and the apartment comes fully furnished. You don’t have to coordinate a move. A suitcase of clothes and toiletries is usually all that is needed.  

Of course, your loved one is also welcome to bring personal items during their stay so they feel at home in their new, albeit temporary, home. 

2. Access to More Rehab

If your loved one had surgery or an extended hospitalization, they may benefit from the continuation of their rehabilitation services.  

Just like at home, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other home health providers can come into the assisted living community and provide services. Most assisted living communities have space dedicated to exercise, as well as conduct physical therapy and occupational therapy. 

3. 24-Hour Assistance 

In an assisted living community, your loved one will have 24-hour assistance from care partners.  

They’ll be able to get as much — or as little — assistance with activities of daily living as they need. This is especially helpful if there are personal care needs that arise from an injury. 

Designed with safety in mind, apartments feature barrier-free showers and grab bars and hallways have handrails. Caregivers empower residents to get around and take care of themselves while also offering support and care.  

4. Community Involvement

Respite stay residents receive the same comforts and amenities as assisted living residents and are encouraged and invited to become part of the community through mealtimes, engaging activities, and social events. 

Residents often gather for conversation and programs in the lively community areas — pubs, living rooms, libraries, beauty salons, private dining rooms, and sunrooms — and enjoy the companionship of neighbors, friends, and family. 

5. Transportation

Many assisted living communities offer transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, as well as other outings, for respite stay residents.  

If your parent isn’t driving and has medical appointments that must take place at the doctor’s office, it can be helpful to have access to transportation services. 

6. Flexibility & Time

There are also benefits of respite care for caregivers. If, for example, you want to move your loved one closer to you, they can move into a respite stay apartment at a local assisted living community while you figure out the next move in a more desirable time frame. 

If you plan to move your loved one back home, you can also use this time to get the house ready, which might include installing grab bars or other safety measures.  

A respite stay can also give you time to make arrangements for your loved one to move into the assisted living community long term. 

7. A Trial Run

In many cases when someone receives respite care after rehab, they opt to turn the short-term stay into a long-term stay.  

After having the chance to interact with others having similar experiences, spend time in a safe and supportive environment, and participate in social activities, they now feel a part of the community and want to move into their own apartment. 

They feel like they are a bit more in control of the process of moving into assisted living and it doesn’t seem as overwhelming. Respite care after a rehab stay is a great way to ease the move to assisted living.  

To learn more about how respite care can help bridge the gap between living at home and living in an assisted living community, check out our eBook Parenting the Parent: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter Again, where two women who experienced the weighty mantle of caregiving for a family member share their journey from respite care to assisted living at The Arbors. 

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