5 Resources for Caregiver Respite Care
Caregivers can get burned out and worn down if they don’t make a point of including respite care in their caregiving schedule. Respite care provides temporary relief for caregivers so they can get out of the house to run errands, visit friends, go to the doctor or even just relax.
Learn more about caregiver respite care and five resources to help you find care for a parent or senior loved one.
5 Caregiver Respite Care Resources
Family caregivers spend an average of 24 hours per week providing care for a senior loved one, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers devote more than 41 hours per week to caregiving duties.
Though the workload sounds like a full-time job, this position doesn’t offer paid vacation, personal time off or sick days.
In many cases, the only way a primary caregiver can take a break is if he or she arranges respite care through an agency, family member, or friend. However, sacrificing your own health and well-being while taking care of someone else is a bad idea.
“You should consider respite services much earlier than you think you will need them,” states the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. “Respite will be most helpful if you use it before you become exhausted, isolated and overwhelmed by your responsibilities.”
In addition to government respite resources, many communities have agencies or organizations that offer in-home respite care or reimbursement for respite care.
Here are five resources to get you started:
1. Area Agencies on Aging.
A good place to begin looking for local caregiver respite care resources is your county or state agency on aging, department of aging, aging services, commission on aging or similarly designated agency.
For state agency resources, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “State Resources” page.
2. Community volunteers.
Plenty of people love to work with seniors by volunteering through local and national organizations.
National organizations offering respite care volunteers include:
- Elder Helpers: This nationwide organization matches people in your community with family caregivers. Caregivers needing respite or other assistance can find volunteers’ profiles by zip code and contact volunteer caregivers directly. Elder Helpers screens volunteers through a phone interview and an identity check and will conduct background checks upon request.
- Senior Corps: Volunteers with Senior Corps Senior Companions program may provide respite care and companionship for your loved one. To find a Senior Companion program in your community, visit Senior Companions or call the National Service Hotline at 1-800-942-2677.
Additional sources for community respite volunteers may include churches, mosques, synagogues, and other faith-based groups.
3. Government benefits.
Medicare short-term hospice respite. If you’re a caregiver for a loved one receiving hospice care through Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), Medicare will pay (a 5% co-payment may apply) for short-term inpatient respite care in a Medicare-approved facility such as a hospice facility, hospital or skilled nursing residence.
You can get respite care more than once for up to five days at a time but only on an “occasional basis,” according to Medicare. Medicare doesn’t typically pay for respite care unless the patient is in hospice. Visit Medicare.gov for more information.
VA Benefits Respite care. Military veterans may be eligible for Veteran’s Administration (VA) respite care. This service pays for someone to come to your home or for the veteran to go to a program or adult day care center so the caregiver can take a break. The respite can also include a short-term inpatient stay at a VA nursing home or VA medical center.
VA Respite care may be available for up to 30 days per calendar year, which you can use in more than one way. For example, the veteran could use that amount all at once with a 30-day stay at a VA nursing home or split it into a few stays adding up to a total of 30 days. Home health aide visits up to six hours count as one day of respite care in the calendar year total.
To find out if you or your loved one is eligible for VA respite care, contact the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs at 844-698-2311 or visit the VA Health Care website.
The Alzheimer’s Association recommends trying out respite providers ahead of time in non-emergency situations rather than waiting until a crisis arises. “Seeking help does not make you a failure,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. “Remember that respite services benefit the person with dementia as well as the caregiver.”
4. Online caregiver respite locator search.
These online nationwide databases can also help you find respite care in your community:
- ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center “National Respite Locator.”
- National Adult Day Services Association “Eldercare Locator.”
5. State respite programs.
Here is a small sampling of states that offer respite care programs or locator services.
To find respite care in your state, use your state name and “respite” as search engine keywords.
- Arizona Caregiver Coalition Adult Day Health Center Respite Program. Adult day center respite at no cost to eligible caregivers.
- California Respite In-Home Services. Respite service provider vouchers.
- Florida Respite Coalition. Caregiver locator.
- New Jersey Statewide Respite Care Program. Respite services and cost-share from 0-25%.
- New York State Respite Services. Community-based respite programs.
- OK (Oklahoma) Cares. Respite locator.
Have you used any other resources for caregiver respite care that weren’t listed above? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.
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