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The value of Respite Care to help a stressed caregiver

Senior Care of Sacramento CEO Therese Johnson, on Money 105.5 FM’s Senior Moments show with host Jim Chong, discusses the underestimated yet crucial need for a senior’s caregiver to maintain their own health, fitness, and emotional wellbeing. Any caregiver suffering from the stress of frequent or continuous caregiving really must recharge their batteries by taking a vacation at least twice a year. Even if it’s only a weekend, respite care can be a blessing for any caregiver who is providing a heavy and stressful load of caregiving time and effort. You can have a professional in-home caregiver come to your home or you can place the senior in assisted living for a weekend, a week, or even a month.


Jim Chong: We have Therese Johnson of Senior Care of Sacramento. Therese, how are you?

Therese Johnson: Hi Jim. I’m doing good and looks like you’re doing pretty good with your health and fitness goals. I see you’ve met some of your goals already this year.

Jim Chong: Yeah, you know, I’m trying, and one of things that’s really exciting – I realize I couldn’t do it alone. I wanna thank Cami here coz I do call her “Hey what do you think of this?”. You know I like – you know just whenever I go out it’s kinda neat to be able to read and have it on my mind, and it really is about being mindful of what I eat, isn’t that right Cami?

Cami Ferry: That’s right Jim.

Jim Chong: And I think about, you know, now I know you work with a lot of seniors and, you know, as we go ahead and get older our needs are little bit different, and I just wanna ask, just jump right into it Therese. I know you work with the placement with a lot of people, they’re aging, and also their children as well. Do you have any recommendations for health and fitness for the senior audience; what is your thoughts on that?

Therese Johnson: Well, yes, and I’d like to address, actually, the caregivers. They’re caring for the senior’s because, you know, everyone’s making their plans for health and fitness and their goals for the New Year, and there’s a care out there that they might not be aware of they would help them with their New Year’s fitness goals, and that’s Respite Care. A lot of people haven’t heard of that and it’s a really good option since 95 percent of our caregivers are daughters and daughters-in-laws, they’re the one taking care of the seniors. It’s important for them to maintain their health and wellbeing and their fitness too, and so I want them to be aware that there’s short term care options available to them. Coz I always advise them to take a vacation at least every 4 to 6 months, have some time off, even if it’s only a weekend or a week, or even if you can only squeeze in a day here and there. Respite Care can be the answer to that, and Respite Care is provided by several different resources. You can have in-home caregivers coming to your home or you can place someone at in assisted living for a week or two, so you can go on vacation. Or even up to month maybe two months is considered Respite Care. Also, there’s daycare where they can go like once a week just for the day – there are some daycare services also they can give you some time off.

Jim Chong: When we go ahead and talk about you’ve caring for the caregiver, I know Healings Emotion has a program. You know, that’s the organization we talk a lot about here. Just really caregivers taking care of themselves, and helping my father, and I know Cami helping her family as well, her mom. It takes a lot out of you. And, for those that don’t know what it is, can you just briefly describe what Respite Care is? What is Respite Care?
Therese Johnson: So, it’s basically short term care and it’s done by large facilities, small facilities, and in-home care services also provide temporary, like a one-time thing, like you if you wanna go on vacation for 2 weeks. And we help people get set up with whatever option is gonna be best for them, and it costs a little bit more usually than permanent, like a permanent placement. It’s about $125 to $175 dollars, on average, per day, for Respite Care depending on if they’re going to a large place or small place. And it’s a little bit different if it’s for in-home care. In-home care is a little more expensive. And then there’s the daycare program where you actually take the person either to some place where they care for them, and they can spend the night, or they just can do a daytime service, or someone can come to your home. The daycare program does not – they’re few and far between – but we do help people find those. And some can be a little more cost effective coz a lot of them are based on a sliding scale based on your income, so those are another option for people.

Jim Chong: So, basically, Respite Care gives caregivers a relief – is that correct? So they can basically get refreshed.

Therese Johnson: Right – give them some relief and a day off.

Jim Chong: That’s always a good thing. Now, are there any advantages to using just Respite Care services – what are the advantages?

Therese Johnson: Yes, well other than, there are some other advantages to Respite Care beside having a day off and taking a vacation. They can be used for like pre-planning and preparing someone for future placement, like you know that maybe down the road your loved one’s gonna need permanent placement because in home cares not gonna work for them at some point. And, so, by setting up a temporary or short-term placement for a weekend or a week or a month, to give not only what is giving you, the caregiver, a rest and a break, but it’s also allowing for your loved one to get familiar with maybe another option or a place that they may need to move to in the future, and they can start getting over maybe some of their fears about that transition or about moving coz they know they’re not going there right now, it’s just a temporary situation for you to have a vacation and you can start planting the seed in your loved one. Wanna make and help alleviating that fear for them, and also if an emergency comes up with a family member, they’ve already been there once for maybe a week or so, so say you needed to move them quickly for some reason, coz you had to go help another family member. They’ve already been there. It’s gonna be an easier thing to have them go for that, another temporary emergency situation. For example, I was taking care of my mom, who has dementia, and my son had been in army and he got discharged, finally he was out, I hadn’t seen him in a year, for my own peace mind I needed to go see my son when he got back from Iraq. And, so, but he was out of state, so I had fortunately had my mom stay at a local small residential care place for a week so she would be comfortable with it, so when he got home she wasn’t afraid to go there till I could go have some time to spend with my son for my own peace of mind, so that I could see him and for my wellbeing.

Jim Chong: That’s great. And, finally, we just have a couple of minutes left here. What impact does caregiving have on a caregiver’s health. You know a caregiver could be a parent or, specifically talking, could be a parent or even a teacher to some degree, but we’re talking about caregiver for a senior. What impact can it have when the senior has real need, how does impact the caregiver?

Therese Johnson: Well, you know Jim, research show that they estimated 17 to 35 percent of family caregivers view their help as fair to poor, and 11 percent of family caregivers report caregiving has cost their physical health to deteriorate. That’s why it’s so important for them to take care of themselves and, also, caregivers, regardless of their employment status, report that their positive activities in their daily life are reduced by 27 percent as a result of caregiving responsibility, and the effect on their personal life is three times more than the effect on employment.

Jim Chong: Wow… Well, thanks for joining us. That’s Therese Johnson of Senior Care of Sacramento. You can reach them at And, so, we wanna thank you so much for the value that you give to our audience, and, of course, in our senior years, you wanna have a plan ahead of time – absolutely impacts your personal financial situation if somebody you love, perhaps your parent, is going through this. This could really devastate family so make sure you consider what your alternatives are ahead of time, and for this, today, just if you have a caregiver, treat them with respect, love them, thank them, but, also, so important for caregivers to be refreshed. And thank you so much for talking about Respite Care.

Have a question? Need FREE help? Therese will contact you...

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  Click here to see information on Therese Johnson's new book "Saving Seniors' Savings."

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