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PREPARING FOR RESPITE
PROFESSOR HENRY BRODATY AO AND PROFESSOR
PERMINDER SACHDEV AM, CO-DIRECTORS,
CENTRE FOR HEALTHY BRAIN AGEING (CHeBA)
While providing care for another person can be rewarding,
it might also be physically wearing and emotionally
stressful. For carers of people with dementia, the
experience can become more challenging as the care
recipient’s cognition declines and their dependency
increases. Taking a break from caring provides benefits
for both the carer and recipient by reducing stress
and improving the coping ability of both parties.
Respite care is one way of ensuring carers can have
a break to recharge or simply attend to their own health
needs. Despite surveys identifying respite care as a high
priority for carers, the uptake rate is low. Perhaps just
knowing it is available is enough, or carers might not be
aware of the range of options available. These can include:
• day respite, which provides care in a day centre;
• in-home respite, where a professional
stays with the care recipient;
• emergency respite, which involves short-term care
if, for example, the carer suddenly becomes ill; and
• residential respite, where care recipients
temporarily live in a residential facility. This is
usually planned in advance and might allow the
carer to have a holiday or elective hospital admission.
Families sometimes arrange respite care as a
rehearsal for permanent residential care to see how
it will work out before committing financially.
All Commonwealth-subsidised services, including
respite, require approval through the MyAgedCare.
gov.au website and an ACAT assessment.
Approved persons are eligible for up to 63 days of
residential respite per year. Daily charges apply.
Preparation prior to respite care is important. For
example, reassuring the recipient it is for a short
period, or allowing them to meet staff or become
familiar with the facility before moving in. Carers
should also use respite wisely: frequent check-ins
or daily visits would defeat the purpose. However,
regarding residential respite, having no visitors would
be distressing, so arranging visits from friends or other
family members can help compensate. Some care
recipients may become unsettled or disoriented during
respite care and there may be a period of readjustment
for both the carer and recipient when they return.
Ultimately, respite is an important part of
caring for carers, allowing them to provide
better quality of care for longer.
Find out more about CHeBA at www.cheba.unsw.
edu.au. Professor Brodaty is an Honorary Medical
Advisor to Alzheimer’s Australia NSW.
WITH A DIAGNOSIS
OF DEMENTIA. FINDING
WAYS TO KEEP DOING
THE THINGS I ENJOY
HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY
IMPORTANT IN HELPING
MAINTAIN MY WELLBEING.
MOBILE RESPITE SERVICE
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW offers a non-traditional respite
service to people in the Bega Valley Shire through its
Mobile Respite Team.
Developed in response to a perceived lack of flexible
respite services in the area, the service provides two
team members to respond quickly and appropriately with
education and support for the carer and the person with
dementia in their own home.
While one team member will engage the person with
the diagnosis in a meaningful activity, the other will work
with the carer to develop strategies to help them better
cope at home and enhance their wellbeing. The aim here
is to upskill the carer and leave them feeling equipped to
provide the best possible quality of care.
The service also offers access to a mobile library filled
with dementia-specific resources.
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Australia
NSW Mobile Respite Service, visit: nsw.fightdementia.
YOUNGER ONSET DEMENTIA
AND RESPITE CARE
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
is progressively being rolled out across New South
Wales. From 2019 it will fund all individualised
support and services for eligible people
diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65.
The NDIS supports the re-ablement and wellbeing
of people living with a disability. For that reason,
access to carer respite is not available, but
there are services funded by the NDIS that can
have a respite effect for the primary carer.
People with dementia are entitled to assistance
in accessing community, social and recreational
activities that can be provided one-on- one or in a
group. While their primary function is to support
the social wellbeing and connectedness of the
person with dementia, the ‘side effect’ is that the
carer is given a break from their caring role.
To find out more about how you can access these
services, contact the National Dementia Helpline on
1800 100 500 and request a referral to the Younger
Onset Dementia Key Worker Program.
25/5/17 2:48 pm
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