Toronto Star

A timeout for caregivers

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Welcome to the “shokibo takino,” an in-between option for family members who want to keep their relatives at home but need the occasional break. Families planning an out-of-town vacation — or simply feel burnt out and crave a night off — can bring relatives for short-term stays of between one and 30 nights. “The idea is when they need, they stay,” explains Reiko Suzuki.

When Shosuke Sato, 85, first started wandering, his wife Hiroko would quietly follow him. Sometimes they would walk for an hour before Hiroko decided enough was enough and steered him back home. But then the disappeara­nces became more frequent. “It’s so exhausting,” admits Hiroko, who suffers from health problems of her own.

In May 2013, Hiroko brought her husband to the shokibo takino, where he stays every Monday and Thursday. “It got easier for me to live,” she says. “It’s very helpful to me.”

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