Complete Respite Care Services

Is your loved one in need of extra care when you are not available? Learn about the ins and outs of respite care services.

You are most likely already familiar with many types of elder care services. For example, it is common knowledge that nursing homes and memory care units are available as permanent housing options for elderly or disabled individuals. Yet, that option is not the best one for every situation. You may prefer to care for your loved one yourself or have another trusted family member or friend take on that responsibility.

Even though allowing a loved one to stay in his or her own home is considered ideal, it can place a lot of stress on the family. If you are taking on the role of primary caregiver, you must allow yourself time to take breaks. Perhaps you have another family member to fill in for you when you take a vacation or are ill, but that is not always the case. If there is no backup plan, it is time to look into respite care.

What is Respite Care?

According to the National Institute on Aging, respite care is a short-term care solution to help primary caregivers who need a break. However, respite care is not solely for elderly loved ones. It is also available for disabled loved ones in times of need. If you are the primary caregiver, respite care is the solution to certain scheduling or personal problems you may encounter. It is impossible to watch your loved one around the clock with no relief. You may need assistance in the evenings when you are asleep, as well as when you have appointments to attend.

You can request respite care relief for a single day or for several days, as needed. If you are the primary caregiver, you may need to call in respite care to assist your loved one during specific situations. Some possibilities include needing extra assistance because:

  • You are moving.

  • You are taking a vacation.

  • You become injured or ill and cannot perform your caregiver duties temporarily.

  • You have other obligations on a particular day, such as needing to attend a friend's wedding or your child's sporting event.

A loved one who does not usually require care at all may also need respite care suddenly for a short time, such as after a surgery or an injury. Additionally, you can use respite care to allow a loved one to see what senior living or living in a facility for disabled individuals all the time is like. Respite care allows you to move your loved one into such a facility for a few days, rather than permanently. That trial period provides an opportunity for you to see if that type of permanent professional care is a good fit for the needs and preferences of your loved one.

How to Get Respite Services

There are many resources available to help you find respite care services. If you are seeking services for any family member for any reason, ARCH (Access to Respite Care and Help) is an excellent national resource. For eldercare specifically, some other useful resources are:

If you need respite care for a disabled love one, resources besides ARCH include:

  • Easter Seals


  • The Arc

  • Local Children's Hospitals

  • United Cerebral Palsy or Other Organizations Specializing in Specific Disabilities

Respite Care Costs and Financial Assistance

The cost of respite care varies widely by state and also type of care Used. Care options include:

  • Having a friend of family member provide respite care. 

  • Bringing a loved one to an adult daycare facility.

  • Hiring a professional in-home care provider.

  • Hiring a specially trained home health aide.

Asking a friend or family member to relieve you of your caregiver duties when you need a break is the least expensive option. Hiring a home health aide with extra special training is typically the most expensive. When costs are a concern, check the benefits for which your loved one is eligible. Medicare, Medicaid, and veteran benefit services are often available to reduce respite care costs. Certain insurance polices may also provide assistance to offset care costs. Local Council on Aging locations, senior centers, and disabilities resource centers have financial assistance information available as well.

Free Respite Care

If your family has limited financial resources, discount respite care is not always helpful enough. You may require free respite care services. There are several ways to get free respite care for a loved one besides asking family members or friends to provide it, especially if your loved one is a veteran. Veteran programs across the country have many resources available you can use to find the respite care required.

If veteran services do not apply in your case, you can request free respite care information from organizations relating to the medical condition your loved one has. For example, Alzheimer's Disease organizations often have free respite care resources. Many free respite care services are provided through religious organizations as well.

Respite Care Relief

Any primary caregiver needs relief from time to time. Caring for a relative or friend is often particularly emotionally draining. Scheduling conflicts can also arise, making constant care from one caregiver impossible. As a primary caregiver, you must take the time to live your own life and recharge yourself mentally from time to time. The above resources can help you do that while keeping your loved one safe.