Respite Care

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
I am wondering whether my problem is one that is a local one on the Isle of Wight or whether it is nationwide.
I care for my mother, who is 95 and still living in her own home very near me. I am an only child. She has a carer three times a day and two nights, while I do an afternoon visit every day and sleep five nights a week. My mother is self-funding. She was going in for respite care at a very pleasant home every couple of months last year and I was able to pre-book her room. This meant that I could look forward to a break and my husband and I actually managed to have breaks away. In January, I 'phoned up the home to book my mother in for a few more breaks, and was told that they have stopped doing pre-bookable respite care. I was devastated. I had already decided that my mother would go into this home if the time comes that she needs full-time care, and we thought we had a wonderful compromise - my mother was still in her own home, but happy to go in for respite as she knew she was coming home. She also enjoyed the social side of being in the home and joining in activities. I contacted endless homes and they all gave me the same answer - they either do not do respite care or I can just ring up the week before I want Mum to go in to see if they have a room available. This is absolutely no good if we want to book a holiday. I then contacted a respite home run by IOW Council and Mum went there for an assessment, only to be told that they could not take her as they would not supply a profile bed (although they have 7 ) or cot sides ( presumably the issue of human rights again ), and she may wander. She only walks from her living room/bedroom to the bathroom. Again, I was devastated. I realise that I could employ a full time carer while we have a break, but there is also the social side as Mum needs company sometimes. I am beside myself. My husband is terrifically supportive and understanding, but surely we have a right to have a break.
Hello Sally, Also living on the Island I also had the same problem as yourself, trying to find a nursing home which also provided respite care. Last December my husband and I had booked to go away for a short Break, as I am also full time carer for my 86 yr old Mum, I tried 5 different homes, First home:. Did not have the dates I wanted free. Second home: Did not do respite care. Third home: Was very helpful, showed me around, took down my details and had a room free, would phone me the next day to confirm booking. No phone call for 2 days so I phoned them only to be told that I could have the room but would have to pay full price for it even though Mum would not be using it for 2 weeks! I had sent an email to this particularl one, 10 days later they replied and informed me that they do not do respite!?!?. I pointed out that the staff had said the opposite and got an apology and that their policy had changed, why not tell me the truth in the first place. Fourth home - Could have the room but could only book a week before I needed it! Well I needed to know that she would have a room way before that! Fifth home: Had a room, was very nice but Mum hated every minute of it, was there 2 weeks, would not come out of her room, stopped walking, etc. She has parkinsons with dementia and was quite bad at the time, I was having to do everything for her, getting her into and out of bed, getting her dressed, washed, fed, cleaned up and the rest and I desperately needed a rest.

She now goes into a council run day care in Ryde which she likes and I have been able to book her in for 4 weeks respite through the year which helps me and her. After a TIA in December her health has improved in that she can do more for herself now which also helps me.

I am afraid that there are so many elderly persons on the Island that the nursing homes are ful and have very little room for respite care.
I was never able to book respite time in advance when Mum was alive - I had to wait for one of the many homes in our area to ring me to say they had a short term vacancy and would we like it ? Then (and only then) could I go ahead and book a break for myself ! In the 7 years I cared for Mum I only ever managed one 5 day break to visit friends at the other end of the country.

Basically it would seem that it's not in the homes' best financial interests to keep rooms empty for respite care - they only want permanent residents.
If your mum is self-funding, have you considered using an agency care-worker to live in for the time you are away?

My friend does that for her dad. It isn't cheap, something over £100 a day (but this is Home Counties), plus you provide food etc, but it has worked well enough ,and enables my friend to get much needed breaks.

What about asking the overnight carer if she would do a whole week overnight, and then have more day time carers to top up what are is need? Would that work out?

I agree that most care homes only offer respite rooms when there is a vacancy in any of the permanent ones - or care homes that are 'underfull'? Otherwise, like a hotel, they would have to juggle endlessly to ensure there are no overnight 'empties' making no money.