Respite care gives caregivers longer breaks
Caring for an older adult is an important job, but your health and well-being are also important. Without them, your ability to care for others will inevitably decline over time.
And, preventing long-term problems caused by stress and overwork is less expensive (and less painful) than dealing with the serious health consequences.
Using respite care is a great way to protect yourself from being overwhelmed by caregiver stress and burnout. These services can also help you keep your older adult at home longer by giving you the breaks you need to keep going over the long term.
We explain what respite care is, why you’d want to use respite services, where to find them, and how much it costs.
What is respite care?
Respite care is when family caregivers get a break from caring for an older adult. It can take place in the home or at an assisted living community, typically for less than a month.
Here, we focus on respite care services outside the home.
Why use respite care services?
There are many situations where respite care can provide much-needed help.
- You’re getting completely burned out and desperately need a break from caregiving.
- You’re having a health crisis of your own and need some time to recover before resuming your caregiving duties.
- You need to travel to an important family event without your older adult or are going on a much-needed vacation.
- Your older adult is recovering from a hospital stay and needs a higher level of care before they can safely return home.
- You’re thinking about moving your older adult to a specific senior living community and want to try the place out before making a final commitment.
In especially stressful situations, like Alzheimer’s or dementia care, regular respite breaks give you a chance to recharge your batteries. This helps you sustain caregiving over a long period of time (it really is a marathon).
Where to find respite care and what services are provided
Short-term respite care stays are usually offered by assisted living communities or nursing care facilities (use this handy locator tool).
Seniors would move into a fully furnished room and can take advantage of all regular services and amenities.
Every community offers different amenities, but they’ll usually have:
- Three meals a day
- Medication management
- Help with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing, toileting and grooming
- 24 hour supervision and security
- Laundry service & housekeeping
- Activities, outings, and transportation
How much does respite care cost?
The cost of respite care will vary a lot depending on your location, the specific assisted living community or nursing home, and the level of care needed.
According to Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care survey, national average daily costs are $123 for assisted living and $235 for nursing care.
Don’t let those numbers scare you, costs vary significantly from city to city. Communities may also offer respite care at prices that are different from normal rates. It’s worth the time to check with local respite care providers before ruling it out as an option.
Does Medicare cover respite care?
No, respite care is not covered by Medicare. However, some programs, like long-term care insurance policies, may cover some of the cost.
One exception is if the respite care is part of a hospice program. Under the Medicare hospice benefit, your senior can get respite care in an approved facility for up to five days at a time and Medicare will pay 95% of the approved amount. Each hospice company is different, so check with the hospice provider first to make sure this is covered by their program.
Next Step Find respite care services in your area
Recommended for you:
- 3 Ways to Let Go of Guilt and Get Help with Caregiving
- When They Say No: 8 Ways to Introduce In-Home Care for Seniors
- 6 Excuses That Prevent Dementia Caregivers from Taking Breaks
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Meadowbrook Senior Living
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