Caregivers sometimes need a break, and that is what respite care is all about…finding someone who can give you a temporary break from the strains and stresses of care giving. But finding the right person or agency that can watch our loved ones (without us constantly worrying) can be a challenge.
So to that end I want to go over several potential options for you, as well as give you ideas how to pay for it.
Sources of Respite Care
In a perfect world, this would be a viable option for all caregivers…where they could go to a close friend or sibling whenever they needed some time for themselves. Of course, this fantasyland scenario is hardly realistic, as in most instances one sibling normally ends up performing about 99.99% of all of the caregiving duties.
It is s unfortunate, but that’s reality. If you do have access to this scenario, use it. But for the rest of us, there are other options.
Video Overview of Local Respite Care Sources Respite Care Program
Adult Day Care Center
Senior day care centers are becoming more popular as our population ages. You can find out more about that at your local Office of the Aging or at local houses of worship or charities that focus on seniors in your area.
Some, though not all, may be free…especially those that are operated by the local government.
Additionally, some of these adult day care centers may put restrictions on who can be admitted to their programs based upon the health of the applicant. For example, the participant may need to be continent and able to feed themselves to participate.
These restrictions may vary from program-to-program so you may need to search around to find the right program this is adapted to the senior you are looking to care for but if you do find the right one it can be a huge load off of your mind.
The perfect candidate ideally is someone who does need to be watched throughout the day for safety reasons but who does not require the constant medication attention that someone would receive in a nursing home.
Volunteer Organization/House of Worship
Here, the type of respite care you will receive could vary greatly. It is all going to depend upon what the organization provides and could be anything from volunteers who take a bit of the load off of you a few hours a day up to things like senior day care centers that were mentioned before.
The advantage is that because we are talking about a house of worship or volunteer services they are free. You just need to match the service with your needs.
In Home Respite Care via Home Health Care Agency
Here, a home health care agency is hired by you to assist in your care giving duties. The aide that the agency has care for your loved one will typically be there during normal business hours, meaning that at the very least you will be able to continue to work and only have to worry about your care giving duties at night or on the weekends, where you may be able to find some volunteers as discussed above.
Temporary Nursing Home Stay
This program is available in my local area, so it might not be available everywhere. But here is the basic premise.
For those caregivers who need a break or a vacation, you can make arrangements through your local Office of the Aging for your loved one to be cared for at a local nursing home for up to 7 days every 6 months. You have to pay for this care, although if your loved one has long term care coverage or is on Medicaid you can make arrangements through the social workers at the nursing home for payments to go there through the insurance company or Medicaid.
The program is limited (only 7 days every 6 months) but for a beleaguered caregiver the chance to get a week off must seem like a godsend.
Other Local Programs Through Office of the Aging
Your local Office of the Aging is the place to contact for any type of help regarding of senior care. You don’t know what is offered in your area unless you contact them and ask for help.
How To Pay For Respite Care
Several of the options outlined above, such as the volunteer and the senior day care centers, are free. As far as the in home health care agency, they will work with you to get Medicare to cover those services.
In addition, if your loved one is on Medicaid, or has a long term care insurance policy, these will pay for most forms of respite care as well.
The only other option would be private pay, but I would contact the Department of Social Services and start the Medicaid application for your loved one to see if Medicaid could pick up the payments first. It might take several months to qualify, but it is worth it.