When a person is initially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage of the disease, the initial responsibilities of the family member who is the primary caregiver may seem manageable as far as time and tasks are concerned. Eventually, the progression of the dementia makes the primary caregiver role an around-the-clock responsibility. Soon the sole caregiver becomes exhausted with the growing needs of their loved one. Respite services provide an opportunity for relief.

Respite Services Provide Relief for the Adult Caregiver

Family caregivers with primary responsibility for the direct caregiving of a person with Alzheimer’s dementia are in need of respite care services. Respite services provide a temporary relief for the family caregiver from the duties associated with day-to-day care of the person with dementia. It is known that for caregivers to truly benefit from respite it must be planned and structured. Structured respite improves the general wellness of the caregiver and the quality of the caregiving relationship.

The Alzheimer’s Support Network has been a pioneer in the delivery of and financial assistance for structured respite care services for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. ASN has provided contracted adult day health respite services since 1989. Respite services have been offered in the past by arrangement with Elder Day Services of Southern Worcester County Inc. of Dudley; and now known as Accord Adult Day Center in Webster. ASN member families may request an evaluation to determine eligibility for adult day health services. If medically authorized, member families can then receive financial assistance towards two respite days per month. Once eligibility has been approved, the start date for ASN supported respite is the next calendar month. Scheduling for a respite day is to be made with the Accord ADC staff.

ASN seeks to ensure that families are satisfied with respite services. Member families involved with respite are asked for feedback when client satisfaction surveys are conducted to evaluate program services. Past survey results have generated positive feedback from families.

Some quotes from families who have used ASN’s respite services include:

• “I was very happy to be able to have this respite time.”
• “This service was a lifesaver. I wouldn’t have been able to have Dad here at all without it.”
• “I could not ask for finer care for my husband. They are extremely observant and caring.”
• “How wonderful it was to take Dad someplace where the staff were caring and competent.”
• “Great service! It allows my husband and I time to just talk.”
• “We are so grateful for this program and the services.”
• “Thank you for all you do!”