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Demand is growing for 'social' respite care

2nd August 2006

Respite care is changing to meet modern needs, a US provider of elderly care has said.

Whereas respite care has traditionally been used by those who needed support with daily living, the ageing population may shift the focus towards social needs, says ElderCarelink.

Predominantly used in the past by those with chronic disabilities or conditions such as Alzheimer's, services are now being more frequently taken up by more independent older people.

The company suggests that since people are living longer and more active lives, they are as likely to require companionship and recreation as they are medical care and help with daily living.

"There is more readiness on the part of Baby Boomers who are serving as primary caregivers to their aging parents to seek out ways for their loved ones to remain engaged socially during planned time away," said Robert Brooks, ElderCarelink's chief executive.

He added: "As today's caregivers -- and those in their care -- better understand the part that social interaction plays in maintaining mental and physical health, respite care that focuses on filling social needs will be increasingly valued."

ElderCarelink says that demand for respite care has increased over the last five years, partly as demand for social assistance has grown.