Respite Care

The concept of respite caregiving is barely a century old as the first occurrences of it dates far back to the mid-60s and early-70s. This was as a result of the deinstitutionalization that occurred between those periods of time. Medical experts noticed that the maintenance and care given to sick and elderly people at their homes yielded very excellent returns that surpassed those given to people at permanently designed hospital bays.

The reason for this occurrence was not exactly pinpointed, but later studies showed that proper communication and good homely feelings go hand in hand in enhancing positive responses to treatments and care. This perhaps explains the psychology behind this discovery and at the same time, forms the basis of this article – RESPITE CAREGIVING

In the USA, proper attention and recognition were directed to this method of caregiving in 2006 when the challenges faced by the primary caregivers came into limelight.

Much success has since then been recorded, and a lot of disease states have proven thereafter to yield lesser mortality rates.


In classical terms, respite care can be said to be a short-term care service that a caregiver or a group of caregivers give to sickly and elderly people with the primary aim of relieving the primary caregivers which are usually the family members of the sick or elderly person. The primary caregivers, most times, cannot afford to keep their eyes on their loved ones through the 24 hours of the day and 7 days of the week as they also have other activities to catch up with.

However, with the advent of respite caregiving, this puzzle has been solved as professional care givers can be paid to do the caringon their behalf while they are away. This set of people are called Respite Caregivers or Secondary Caregivers. 

Respite care services may be given in the homes or in temporary institutional care centers but all with the primary aim of relieving the primary caregivers. It has evolved from being just a daycare plan to offering a variety of services ranging from mild connections with the sick or elderly person to deep connections with them.

Some of the services rendered by modern respite care givers are;

  • Companionship – this goes a long way in affecting the psychology of the person receiving the care as neglect and loneliness are not treatment-friendly
  • Involvement in the person’s daily activities
  • Helping with the personal hygiene tasks – respite caregivers also help the sick or elderly people with their personal hygiene tasks such as bathing, dressing and grooming.
  • Light housekeeping – little or nothing can be done by the sick or elderly people. Respite caregivers, therefore, help in tidying up the homes and the care centers while the primary caregivers are away on their own personal tasks.
  • Meal preparation and feeding – respite caregivers also go extra miles in ensuring that the feeding of the person being cared for is well prepared and well taken.

Some of the categories of people that need this care are:

  • Cancer patients
  • Brain injury patients
  • Stroke patients
  • Blind patients
  • Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Proper care and full-time attention are required by these people to enhance their proper response to treatment plans.



To book for a respite care service, there is a wide range of questions you must ask. For proper services to be delivered with lesser risks, make sure the respite care service providers are licensed in your state and also incorporated in a working insurance plan.

The following are questions you need to ask before booking respite care;

  • How long can the caregiving sessions last?
  • Is transportation incorporated in the service? This is very important as emergencies can surge at any time.
  • What extra services are included in the price?
  • What kind of special training have the caregivers been subjected to?
  • What plans do they have for fire and weather emergencies?
  • How does the facility keep a record of the patient’s medical conditions or keep track of their medication.

The proper evaluation of these questions will go a long way in ensuring that you subscribe to the best respite care programs available.

Trust is important in every relationship, it is therefore vital to be on the lookout for the respite programs you can trust best and always involve your loved one (who will be receiving the care) in the search. This goes a long way in positively affecting their psychology. 

Payment options

A lot of worries have been pumped into answering this clause as respite care services can be hugely fund demanding, especially when it is based on a long-term agreement. These expenses can use up a significant amount of the monthly earnings of individuals and families due to the associated demands.

Savings, however, can be sufficient for some time but expenses always find their ways to multiplying as time goes on. This thus calls for a proper payment plan formulation.

To come by payments easily and enhance a stress-free period of sourcing funds, one needs to rely on a variety of payment sources. These sources include;

  • Money from personal funds
  • Money from government programs and
  • Money from private financing options
infographic: Payment options

Payment options

1. Money from personal funds

Many adults find themselves paying for respite care services from personal savings, money from pension programs, and income from stock and bonds.

Family members may as well pull recourses together with their loved ones to further facilitate the services, but as a person’s needs increase, the source perimeter may need to be extended.

2. Money from Government programs

The federal and state governments provide sponsored services to eligible citizens, especially the older adults and people with last-stage kidney failure and thus provide help with the related costs.

Two major programs are the federal Medicare health insurance program and the Medicaid program which combines resources from the federal and state levels to cover costs for low-income people and families.

Medicare services

The Medicare services pay for some medical costs for people of age 65 and above, and also for people with late-stage kidney failure. It, however, does not cover ongoing personal care given at home.

To know more about the services that Medicare offers, visit or call 1-800-633-4227, TTY: 1-877-486-2048

Medicaid services

This type of services covers for some types of long-term care for people with very limited income. However, the eligibility for these services varies from State to State.

To learn more about Medicaid, visit or simply call 1-877-267-2323, TTY: 1-886-226-1819.

Other schemes provided by the government are;

  • Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Social Security Disability income
  • National Council on Aging

3. Money from private financing options.

In addition to the payments offered by personal savings and government funding system, there are also several other private payment options which embed quality services that include the following;

  • Long term insurance care
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities and
  • Trusts

All these options can be properly evaluated and ventured into, all in a bid to make the payments for the respite services easy to come by.


For longevity of life and proper management of some disease states, the proper care system is the best option to subscribe to. However, as stated in the paragraphs above, with time, primary caregivers find it very monotonous to stay with their loved ones who need this kind of care all through the day.

They also need to fulfill personal tasks such as going to work, hitting the gym and visiting friends. To do these, someone else has to stand in for them to effectively fit into the care needs of the sick or elderly person. This is where respite caregivers come in.

Several schemes can be subscribed into and the various time schedules can be hourly, daily, or even weekly. This system ensures proper effectiveness of the care given to your loved ones, as professionally trained personnel are involved.

In the US, the respite care services near you can be found using the Respite Locator. Here, the search service is used and a list of respite services around you is brought.

However, if this fails to bring a program near you as the database might not always be complete, check with your State Lifespan Respite Program.

Types of Respite Care

Respite care provides temporary relief for primary caregivers, allowing them a break from the demands of caregiving. This type of care can be necessary for caregivers of individuals with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or the elderly. Here are several types of respite care available:

  1. In-Home Respite Care:
    • Professional Caregiving Services: Professionals such as nurses or home health aides come to the home to provide care, allowing the primary caregiver to take a break.
    • Companion Services: These services involve someone visiting the home to provide basic company or supervision, ensuring the person is safe when the primary caregiver is away.
  2. Adult Day Care Centers:
    • These facilities provide care and activities for adults during daytime hours. This option is ideal for caregivers who work during the day or need time to run errands. Activities typically include meals, social interaction, and sometimes health-related services.
  3. Residential Respite Care:
    • Short-term stays in a facility such as a nursing home or assisted living community. This option can be suitable for longer breaks, like a vacation, or when a caregiver needs a more extended period of relief.
  4. Emergency Respite Care:
    • This type of care is available on short notice due to an unexpected event or emergency, ensuring the person being cared for remains safe and well during unforeseen circumstances.
  5. Specialized Respite Care:
    • This caters specifically to individuals with certain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or autism. Specialized respite care often involves staff who are trained to handle particular needs related to these conditions.
  6. Community or Volunteer Respite Care:
    • Some communities offer respite care through volunteer programs where trained volunteers provide care, allowing the primary caregiver time to rest or manage personal affairs.

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