Types of Respite Care

Aug 30, 2016

Types of Respite Care

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For informal caregivers, whether they are family, friends, or community volunteers, a bit of time off can serve to replenish motivation and improve the ability provide their services. Respite care relieves caregivers of their duties for short periods of time, allowing those receiving care to spend a few hours, days, or weeks under the supervision of trained professionals or the appropriate volunteers.

Offered in two main types, respite care is available in-home or through assisted living communities, nursing homes, or other senior daycare facilities. For people receiving memory care, the ability to remain in a familiar environment is a large part of their wellbeing, while others may benefit greatly from a change of scenery.

In-Home Care Assistance

Help with in-home care consists includes, but is not limited to:

• Dressing, bathing, and personal hygiene

• Meal-times and medication management

• Companionship and social stimulation

• Homemaker services (shopping, housekeeping, etc.)

Out-of-Home Programs 

Adult Day Centers – Designed for older adults, providing a safe and supportive environment to engage with others through planned activities and health services which usually operate Monday to Friday during daytime hours.

Residential Programs – Includes group homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and other senior care facilities to allow caretakers at least 24-hour relief.

Retreats and Respite Camps – Offer short-term care combined with educational experiences, recreation, and support from peers.

Assisted Living Communities or Nursing Homes – Temporary admission may be offered, providing access to certified medical personnel and facilities.

Agencies and Independent Providers

When seeking a respite care option, it is possible to find services through agencies and referral services or by contracting independent caretakers.

Although you may be pining for some much-needed relief, don’t hand off your duties before taking the time to ensure a temporary caretaker is right for the job. Make an appointment to interview the candidate, discussing with them the tasks involved while getting a feel for their abilities. Here you can work out any scheduling issues and determine a cost for their services. It’s important to request several references and run a background check if preferred. Perhaps most importantly, the person receiving care should feel comfortable with their temporary caretaker. Following these steps can make the entire process safe and effective for everyone.

Finding an independent caretaker can make for a great pairing, however, agencies and other referral services can streamline the entire process. This route is usually more expensive, yet many consider the price worth the lesser amount of stress involved with handling things like payroll, finding replacements, and other issues that may arise. Checking places like local registries and news sources can also be great places to find temporary caretakers in the community.

How to Pay for Respite Care 

The average cost of adult day health care was $17,904 in 2015 according to Genworth Financial. This breaks down to around $69 a day, however, the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of care received. Assisted living and nursing homes are usually the most expensive due to their extensive staff and facilities. If considering these options, be sure to check with local facilities regarding their prices and availability.

Other great, cost-efficient places to look for local respite care can be volunteer organizations, church groups, or even local colleges and universities, particularly medical schools. Otherwise, traditional in-home and out-of-home care options can be paid for in several ways:

• Insurance – Long-term care insurance policies may be used in some cases to provide coverage, or at least offset the cost of a brief stay in a registered facility offering respite care services.

• Social Security – It may be possible for disabled or aging individuals to receive home health care benefits. Calling your local SSI office can verify this eligibility.

• Medicaid – Although Medicaid does not usually cover respite care directly, certain states use waiver programs to offset these costs with federal funds. More information can be found through your state’s Administration on Aging.

• Veteran’s Benefits – The Veteran’s Association (VA) provides up to 30 days of respite care per year for qualifying veterans. This offer can also extend to the spouses of wartime veterans in specific states.

• State Agencies – Family members providing respite care may be eligible to receive payments or funding from their state for these services. With over half of the states in the U.S. participating, check to see which options are available near you.

Respite care can provide a healthy resting period for family caregivers, even providing their care-dependent loved ones with new experiences and acquaintances. Overall this type of care is an umbrella term for the many services and forms associated with temporary caregiver relief. A little time off through respite care can give everyone a chance to recover and live healthier lives, all without sacrificing the proper care your loved one deserves.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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