As much as caregivers need a rest from their 24-7 responsibilities, the decision to have someone else take care of their loved one is very difficult.

There are several options to consider for respite care. However, it is important for caregivers to do their homework when considering a place for respite care to assure the safety and happiness of their loved one.

Choices for respite could include day care, home care, and even care for a month or more. These descriptions should give you more insights into each option.

Adult day care provides older adults an opportunity to get out of the house and receive both mental and physical stimulation. Day programs can be dementia specific or a mixed population and are usually three to five hours.

If your loved one has a form of dementia, it is ideal to look for a program that is dementia specific, where communication, behavioral and emotional needs are met in a dignified, failure-free manner.

A well-run adult day care center will focus on enriching the participants’ lives and building up their unique abilities and strengths.

Other considerations are CPR-trained staff, proper licensing, and even the physical layout of the building.

Does the center offer a safe environment? Does the activity room have ample space for the participants to move about with minimum danger of falling? Is the room well lit? Is the furniture sturdy, and does it offer support? Are the bathrooms equipped for the handicapped?

Home care should be provided by a reputable and bonded business. Ask for a list of references, both personal and business.

Questions that should be asked during an interview include:

Is the agency bonded and insured?

Are background checks done on each employee, and does the agency do random drug testing?

What type of training does the agency provide their employees?

Assisted living and memory care facilities can offer respite for up to 30 days. Questions and observations:

Is the facility compliant with state and local regulatory agencies?

Does the facility look clean and homey?

Is there a registered nurse on staff?

How many meals are served in a day?

Is there around-the-clock security?

What is the ratio of residents to caregivers, both during the day and evening?

If you are considering a respite stay for your loved one, let Memory Matters help. Our staff is knowledgeable about local resources. You can make an appointment by calling 843-842-6688.

Take time for yourself knowing there are some great options for your loved one.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head.