Elderly Respite Care

Elder care is a term that is becoming more of a glamorized news term. Amidst a population that is living longer and subsequently will become subject to a host of illnesses and treatment needs that may have been unheard of a few short decades ago, the sudden emergence of a condition known as elder depression is a somewhat new field.

Dealing with elder depression is not as cut and dried a process as it would be for the middle aged or even younger generations. Unfortunately, due to a lacking resources and a spreading thin of kinship caregivers, to many hospitalization is one of the few viable options.

Dealing with Elder Depression

Although more physicians are now able to adequately diagnose the elder depression, the fact that not many caregivers are available to deal with the consistent administration of medications, to be the daily help with home care chores, and of course also place themselves in positions of responsibility when it comes to taking over finances, asset disbursement, and final decisions makes it next to impossible to deal with depressed elderly patients outside of an institutional setting.

Sadly, many peer relationships are broken up in the process even though these peers would be willing to step in and help out. Overcoming elder depression with respite care is a new possibility on the horizon and one which is showing a lot of promise.


Treatments that are currently used with the younger generations have been adapted and in many cases shown stellar results for the elderly set. The patient is involved in the choice of doctors, caregivers, and overall day to day care decisions but a peer is the final authority when it becomes obvious that depression is rendering the elderly patient either irrational or unable to act on her or his own behalf.

Yet since the peer caregiver is elderly as well, the problems that go along with age are amplified and although ordinarily this might present a serious problem in the care of an individual, with the advent of respite care the peer caregiver has the break times needed to keep her- or himself healthy.

Respite Care Benefits

Doctors appointments do not have to be missed, breaks can be scheduled to prevent the caregiver from becoming stressed, and the patient is cared for by essentially two separate entities the peer caregiver who is more of a friend than a nursing agent and the respite care volunteer who may be the professionally trained eyes and ears that can pick up on problems the peer caregiver might have missed. Working in tandem has been shown to be a highly effective means of keeping the patient well cared for and the peer caregiver as well.

For a while the question of liability was one that appeared to be insurmountable but over time it became clear that the voluntary arrangement of patient and peer caregiver is one which is not likely to become a legal sticking point. Family members are unlikely to object since it is their inability to step up and take over the care of the elderly family member during the time of depression that is giving rise to this arrangement in the first place.