Caregiving for anyone of any age is stressful. Finding relief and preventing caregiver burnout can be challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start. The term respite care refers to temporary relief from caregiving duties so that you can rest, rejuvenate, run errands, and tend to your work and family responsibilities.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Aging Adults
- Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Children With Disabilities
- Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Partners of Spouses
Ideally, periodic respite should be ongoing throughout the caregiving journey so that your stress stays under some control. For families that can afford it, respite is easier to find because you can pay for it. There are other respite options for others on a tight budget, but they could take time to put in place.
Caregivers are family members and friends who care for aging adults, children with disabilities, and spouses and partners. We will guide you to some resources for each of these situations. It could take time, and you may have to piece together a couple of different resources, but respite can benefit both you and your loved one once you do.
Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Aging Adults
As people live longer, most of them need more help. There are about 54 million adults over the age of 65 living in the US. And that number grows each day due to the baby boomer generation. With age comes increasing disability and chronic medical conditions that require assistance from other people, usually family. Since most older adults state they want to age at home, families are called upon to provide caregiving to make that possible.
Senior living community respite services
Senior living communities offer short-term respite services, including assisted living and memory care. Every facility will differ a bit, but generally, senior living communities offer a fully furnished room with whatever level of assistance the person needs. There could be a daily or weekly rate, but most communities limit the stay to one week.
There are several advantages to this respite arrangement. One is a complete break from caregiving duties. The other is a different environment for your loved one that might be a good break for them as well. If you are considering assisted living for your loved one, this could be a good trial run to help them adjust to the idea.
Aging Services/Eldercare Locator
Your local area agency on aging may have respite resources, although they could be limited. It is worth the effort to see what is available. The Eldercare Locator will connect you with your local office and other aging programs.
Some of these programs may have income qualifications and waiting lists. However, aging services can also connect you with faith-based organizations that might have respite services.
If there is an adult daycare available in your community, it can be a valuable resource for respite. Adult daycare programs serve older adults and provide supervision, activities, meals, and some medical services. Adult daycare costs are generally lower than for private duty home care and can be a nice change of environment from being at home all of the time.
Many adult day care centers have half days available if that suits your schedule better. Adult daycare centers cater to a specific group of older adults in general, including adults with dementia.
Home care is an obvious choice for respite for a caregiver if you can afford it. The nice thing about home care is its flexibility. Some agencies have a minimum of hours per week, but generally, you can pick and choose the hours you need for your loved one. Home care caregivers can help with activities of daily living, shop, cook meals, provide transportation and companionship.
If your loved one is a veteran, some respite resources might be available. The most well-known program is Aid and Attendance, which provides a monthly benefit amount for the veteran and their family to use for in-home care. The veteran must meet service, income, and other criteria to qualify.
Most people probably don’t think of a senior center as a good option for respite, but under certain circumstances, it is. Senior centers have a variety of activities, meals and some provide transportation in a defined area.
If your loved one is independent enough to go without supervision, this could give you a break and provide them with some stimulation. Your area agency on aging will have a listing of senior centers in your area.
Assisted living/memory care
There could come a time when caring for an older adult is too time-consuming, expensive, and challenging to manage. Assisted living or memory care for people with dementia can be a good choice. Although assisted living may not address all caregiving needs for your loved one, it can take a huge burden off of you as the primary caregiver.
Most assisted living communities can provide a high level of care around the clock. You may still have to manage some aspects of caregiving but not nearly as much when your loved one is at home.
Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Children With Disabilities
Caring for a child with disabilities is particularly challenging and emotional. You are doing double duty as a parent who is caring for a vulnerable young person, and that same child has the added burden of a disability. One of the challenges of respite for caregivers of children with disabilities is the complexity of some of the care tasks.
8. ARCH National Respite Program
ARCH stands for Access to Respite Care and Help. The mission of the ARCH is to assist and promote the development of quality respite for families and help them locate respite services in their community.
9. Summer camps
Summer camps for children with disabilities can be a great way to get respite for you and help your child experience being with other children in a stimulating environment. In your community, summer camps for children could be limited, and spaces fill up fast, so enroll your child early.
Easterseals provides essential services and supports to more than 1.5 million individuals and families each year through its national network of Affiliates. Easterseals offers a variety of home and community-based services and is America’s largest non-profit healthcare organization. Easterseals respite services provide several options for respite services across the country.
11. Private care
Private caregivers are available through online caregiver resources like Care.com. With any online consumer to caregiver service, you will pay an hourly fee to the caregiver. It is highly recommended that you choose a caregiver carefully to ensure that they have the skillset and experience working with your special needs child.
12. Kids on the Move (KOTM)
KOTM is a national program that provides services to kids with disabilities and their families. Some of their programs include autism centers, child care, Head Start, and respite care.
Respite Care Resources for Caregivers of Partners of Spouses
You may be caring for a spouse or partner who has had an accident, is suffering from a chronic medical condition, or has any other number of problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Regardless of the cause for caregiving, caring for a spouse is unique because of the loss of that person’s support and involvement in your lives together. Respite for caregivers can also include online help and virtual support groups.
13. Family Caregiver Alliance
The Family Caregiver Alliance is a national organization that can link you to local resources to support your caregiving. They have information and tips on various caregiving situations, including diversity, behavior management strategies, veterans, sexuality and intimacy, technology, and more.
14. Well Spouse Association
The Well Spouse Association specifically addresses caregiver issues for those caring for a spouse or partner. The organization can link you to support groups in your area.
15. VA Caregiver Support Program
The VA Caregiver Support Program has a wide range of caregiver support programs for qualified veterans. The VA Program provides peer support mentoring, skills training, coaching, telephone support, online programs, and referrals to available resources to caregivers of Veterans. Respite may be available through the VA’s Aid and Attendance Program.
16. In-home care
In-home care is available for caregivers taking care of spouses or partners. Be aware that most in-home non-medical care is primarily for assisting with activities of daily living (like bathing and dressing), shopping, cooking, and companionship.
And, there is a cost to in-home care for any of the groups we have mentioned, unless you have Medicaid. If your loved one needs medical care, you will want to arrange for medical home health services through their primary care physician.
17. Family members
Family members are a good resource for respite for older adults, spouses, and children with disabilities. Most caregivers are reluctant to ask others for help with caregiving duties. But, most family members and friends are happy to provide you with some short-term respite so you can attend to things that are important to you. Remember to provide clear instructions on what is needed and any emergency information.
18. Disease-specific resources
Whether you are a caregiver for someone who is aging, a child or a spouse, if they have a specific condition or disease, there are resources for support and respite. The best way to explore what is available is to search for a condition such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, or any other medical problem. You will likely find a range of non-profit organizations that can help you find respite in your community.
Respite Care Resources for Caregivers
Caregiver resources for respite are widely available, but narrowing your search for what you and your loved one need will take some time. Remember that respite is necessary for being a healthy and well-adjusted caregiver. Taking care of yourself allows you to be the best caregiver for your loved one.