Paying for Respite Care

Aug 30, 2016

Paying for Respite Care

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Caring for seniors who require daily assistance and medical care can be extremely rewarding! But, people providing constant attention and care for their loved one, finding time off can feel like a luxury - especially if that means temporarily hiring another caregiver. 

Respite care allows family caregivers the ability to recuperate, take care of their other obligations, or to just do nothing for a change. Not only will a caregiver's overall mental and physical health be better after time off, but it's likely the receiver of their care will benefit as well. 

Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, caregivers and care receivers are often unable to take the respite time needed. Since paying for the resources needed to care for a loved one can be very expensive, many families are unable to afford to hire a professional caregiver. Luckily, there are a number of resources available to seniors and their family caregivers that can allow some relief. 

Exploring Respite Care Options

Respite care is usually short term, but there is a wide range of options and different types available. If finances are an issue when arranging respite care, explore the option of a trusted friend or a loved one to be an interim caregiver. This will not only benefit the caregiver with the peace of mind knowing a loved one is safe and being well looked after, but it will also benefit your senior by creating a more comfortable atmosphere. When family or friends are providing care they may not be expecting compensation, although you may want to set aside money for them anyway. People who drop everything to care for a loved one really do deserve pay which we'll explore later. Otherwise, you'll need to consider a professional caregiver option and the financial resources available to make that happen. 

Respite Care Online Resources

Generally, a majority of those seeking respite care hire senior care professionals to transport and care for aging loved ones. Because arranging respite care can be difficult with the addition of other daily activities, preplanning can be extremely helpful to decrease the potential for conflicts.

To begin locating and comparing multiple respite care services, visit the 2-1-1 website (or call). This site is designed to connect people across North America with health and human resources needed for an array of situations. Once the resource is located, the website will also assist in a filtered search for the specific literature and government offices related to the resource, a process that may take hours to complete otherwise. 

The Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), the Elder Care Locator service, and the Family Care Giver Alliance provide a substantial online catalog of locations, respite funding resources and respite informational resources including federal sources.

These informative lists are ideal resources to become familiar with state and federal elder offices and their senior care programs. By exploring what resources are available to your state, you can begin to get a better idea of how paying for respite care is an actual possibility. 

State Elder Care Offices

Although senior care regulations and senior care programs vary from state to state, it is common for an elder care office to offer and manage state-funded respite care programs. State offices will create state-specific Medicaid waivers, which offer financial support for respite care services in both private and state funded facilities. Medicaid waivers are different for each state and usually encompass a multitude of care services in addition to respite care. 

To explore the Medicaid waivers and the accompanying eligibility guidelines for respite care, view the online ARCH National Respite Locator map for each state’s respite funding resources. For those who have accepted the Section 1915(i) Medicaid State Plan Option for Home and Community-Based Services, it is possible that respite care costs are covered through a state-specific Medicaid plan without the requirement of a Medicaid waiver. Conventionally, these state programs are aimed to support low-income seniors who cannot afford private sector senior care.

Federal Elder Care Offices

Medicare and respite care related Medicare programs fall under the jurisdiction of the Administration of Aging. Because most states enact multiple programs and waivers to support those seeking respite care, programs supporting respite care are few and with stricter guidelines. Medicare will pay for respite care only if the participant is suffering from a life-threatening disease, which qualifies for hospice level care. As the name suggests, Medicare will usually cover situations where medical care is necessary, making respite care a relative gray area depending on a loved one's current health. 

The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center compiled and published a free complete guide to federal Medicare programs, waiver, and benefits, which support or fund respite care.

National Family Caregiver Support Program

Under the jurisdiction of the Administration of Aging and administered by your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), the National Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to provide respite care for a variety of caregivers. Caregivers are eligible for respite care based on the age and conditions of the loved one they're caring for. Those eligible for this program also include caretakers over the age 55 who are caring for a grandchild or caring for a relative with disabilities. Please visit the official National Family Caregiver Support Network Program page via the Administration on Aging website to learn more about the program, how it works, and who is eligible for support.

Respite Care Support for Veterans

Managed by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the Family Caregiver Program provides respite care for eligible veterans. This program is designed to provide interim care for a veteran for a maximum of 30 days in a variety of settings ranging from the veteran’s personal residence to short-term placement in a VA senior care community. As an added benefit, this program allows for emergency respite care to be provided if the caregiver encounters an unexpected situation leaving him or her unable to continue their duties.

With so many organizations and resources available, finding a respite care option to fit within your budget is more than possible. We know respite care can be expensive, but finding time off can really make the difference for caregivers and their senior loved one. Don't fret and explore the options available - you'll be happy you did!

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Annuities can be an important part of your retirement or senior care savings strategy. An annuity is a tax-deferred investment sold by insurance companies. After your invest and watch your principle grow, when you retire you will be able to receive a series of annual payments. These payments could be used to pay for a senior's care. To find out more about annuities, find a financial advisor you can trust and discuss your options.

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