Giving an Elder Caregiver a Break – 7 Places to Find Respite Care

By Hal Robertson

Respite care can be a life saver for full time elder care givers. So just what is it? It's an arrangement where you line up a substitute caregiver to give you a break from time to time. Respite care works best when you have a set schedule. For example, perhaps your brother comes in for 4 hours on Tuesday afternoons to handle the care for your mother. Or, a friend comes by for the day every Friday. The important thing to remember with respite care is that you should use the time away from your elder care duties to recharge your batteries. Relax during this time. Do something you enjoy.

Even if it's for a few hours, getting that regularly scheduled break is critical, as it can significantly boot your mental as well as physical state. On top of that, it can even delay the institutionalization of your elder. When family or friends are unable to help you, you can either have your elder join a respite program in your community, or you can hire and in home respite care worker.

The 7 most common places to look for respite care if you are unable to secure friends or family to spell you are:

1. Local agencies on aging
These agencies typically provide referrals of self employed respite workers. The generally have differing names in different states, but you can locate the agency in your area by calling 800-677-1116.

2. Churches / Houses of Worship
Many churches, synagogues as well as other religious based institutions will be able to refer you to available services in your area.

3. Adult day care centers
You can locate these agencies online or in the phone book. Many of these facilities also offer overnight respite care options.

4. Skilled nursing facilities
These facilities can be a great alternative, but they can be pricey. Medicare normally only pays for respite care for those who are hospice patients.

5. Home care agencies
Check with your elder's doctor or hospital discharge worker for options here.

6. Word of mouth recommendations
Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Ask around at work. You never know when a friend of a friend may know someone who knows of a caring person that looked after their loved one at some point.

7. Call your state department of aging
This number will be on your state's web site as well as in the phone book. Call and ask if there is any funding for respite care. If you are fortunate to live in one of the few states that does provide funds for this type of care, don't get too excited until you hear how long their waiting list is.

Most respite workers are women, but most agencies will do their best to provide a male worker if you request one.

Hal has been writing articles online since 2005. Not only does he specialize in elder care issues, he also maintains a number of informative web sites as well. You can check out his latest website here: Cost of Cremation which reviews the Cost of Cremation.

3 Responses

  1. Can't thank you enough for this article. I have been noticing a lot of desperate caregivers on line lately who have become stuck in the quest for help when their families can't or won't participate. This summery of resources is just what's needed. I will be posted on this problem in the next week or so on Inside Aging Parent Care and plan to link directly to your article. Meanwhile, for caregivers who can't tell if they are stressed enough to need respite, I recommend The Caregivers Desperation Scale Thanks again for your important and accessible post.
  2. I want to stress to all caregivers to remember that they are not alone. There is a ton of information out there and there are also lots of help from Adult Day Centers to help at home. I'd like to promote the Visiting Nurse Service of New York as a place for a host of information and services. Even if you are not in the New York City area, check out their site for articles like Avoiding Caregiver Burnout (<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>) and their blog especially Debbie Stricoff who runs the Adult Day Care Services (<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>). I hope these resources help. Good luck! Stav
  3. Your MessageCaregiver depression, stress and burnout is all too common. Some of the best ways to prevent it include relying on friends, family or outside assistance to give the caregiver a break from time to time. Adult day care centers are a cost effective option allowing caregivers to take a morning, afternoon an a few days off while their loved one is in the hands of professionals who care. Active Day ( has a network of adult day care centers all over the country providing seniors and adults with disabilities a nurturing environment that has attentive staff caring for their needs. Patients enjoy social activities and outings, hot, nutritious meals and transportation to and from the center is always available.