Respite care services give caregivers longer breaks
Caring for an older adult is an important and demanding job. But your own health and well-being are also important.
That’s why it’s necessary to take regular breaks. They help you sustain caregiving over the long term.
Respite care services take care of your older adult and give you the chance to take those breaks.
We explain what respite care is, why these services benefit you and your older adult, how much it costs and programs that may pay for it, what’s covered by Medicare, and how to find respite care near you.
What is respite care?
Respite care is when family caregivers can take a longer break from caring for an older adult.
These caregiving services 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. Many assisted living communities or nursing care facilities offer short-term respite care stays.
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
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.
- You’re going on a much-needed and well-deserved 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 test it out before making a final commitment.
This helps you sustain caregiving over a long period of time (it really is a marathon).
How much does respite care cost?
The cost of respite care will vary significantly depending on your location, the specific assisted living community or nursing home, and the level of care needed.
According to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care survey, national average daily costs are $133 for assisted living and $247 for nursing care.
But don’t let those numbers scare you, costs vary significantly from city to city.
And care communities may also offer respite care at prices that are different from their normal rates as part of their marketing plans. So don’t rule out any care communities who offer respite care before calling to ask about special prices or promotions.
There are also state programs that may cover the cost of respite care services.
To find them, visit the ARCH Respite Funding search page and select your state – this is a tool from the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center.
Then, scroll down to the section for Respite Funding and Eligibility.
Does Medicare cover respite care?
No, respite care is not covered by Medicare.
But one exception is if the respite care is part of a hospice program.
Under the Medicare hospice benefit, seniors 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 first check with the hospice provider to make sure it’s covered by their program.
Also, some programs like long-term care insurance policies may cover some of the cost.
Find respite care near you using the ARCH National Respite Network
The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center has an online locator tool that helps you find local respite services in the U.S. and Canada.
Visit the National Respite Locator page and select a U.S. state or Canadian province.
Next, you’ll see the Respite Locator Search page for that state or province.
At the top, enter a zip code or city to find respite care near you. Enter a distance (like 25 miles) to keep the search focused on areas near you.
Unfortunately, the Respite Locator Search tool isn’t perfect.
For example, when we tried to use distance to narrow the search, the tool couldn’t find any results – clearly a bug in the system.
Our solution was to not enter anything in the distance box. That meant that we got many results that were far away from our city, but we sorted the results alphabetically by city to identify the ones that were nearby.
Even though there may be minor issues like this one, this online locator tool is still very helpful because it makes it easy to get a list of local places to call for more information.
Recommended for you:
- 6 Ways to Make It Easier for Caregivers to Take a Break
- 6 Excuses That Prevent Dementia Caregivers from Taking Breaks
- 10 Ways Caregivers Can Take a Quick Break Right Now
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Winfield Senior Living Community
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