How can I get a respite break from caregiving? Ask our expert for tips and ideas.
AARP Caregiving Expert Series: Week 2: How can I get a respite break from caregiving? May 13-19, 2019
Welcome to week two of our four week Caregiving Expert Series here in the AARP Online Community, Caregiving Forum. Our AARP Expert, Amy Goyer, is here to help with questions you have as a Caregiver.
This week’s topic is How can I get a respite break from caregiving?
A respite break is taking a break from caregiving. Caring for someone can be a very rewarding experience. It can also be very stressful and take a toll on you. You should try to take regular breaks from your caregiving role to help relieve stress. Ask our expert about ways you can do this.
Hi! I made this quick video with and overview and tips about respite care - how to get a break from and help caring for your loved ones. Give it a watch and let me know how you like it - and if you have any questions or need help locating respite care!
@DonnaW115008 Hi Donna! So glad you joined this discussion and that you're open to respite!
There are a variety of ways to get respite care to give you a break from caregiving. Respite care may be in the form of a volunteer, family member or friend who stays with your loved one, a paid care provider in his/her home, a facility or someone else's home your loved one goes to temporarily for a weekend or even a week, or an adult day services center that your loved one attends for one or more days every week. Adult day services centers offer socialization, usually meals, activities, sometimes assistance with medications, bathing and other services. It can be beneficial for both you and your loved one!
Remember that if money is tight and your loved one isn't eligible for free or low cost respite services, sometimes paying for a couple hours of help - especially during the most difficult times of day - can go a long way toward lightening your load.
You'll need to find out a) what your loved one is eligible for, b) the costs and how they can be paid and c) how to get it started.
Here are a few places you can start:
Contact your area agency on aging (AAA) and explain that you are caregiving and you really need a break. Ask about any respite care (including adult day services) your loved one may be eligible for. Ask if he/she would qualify for any free respite programs, and/or respite care that can be provided on a sliding fee scale (i.e. the fee is determined according to what he/she can afford to pay). To find the local area agency on aging, you can:
Search in the online AARP Community Resource Finder - you'll click on "Community Services" and then click on "Area Agency on Aging", then enter the city and state (use the two letter abbreviation for your state) or the zip code.
Contact the Eldercare Locator - either by searching online or you can call toll free 1-800-677-1116 and ask about the AAA and any respite care options in your area.
Search in the ARCH Respite Locator tool: Either select your state or click on your state in the map. You'll then find a list of respite programs and resources in your state.
If your loved one is a Veteran, contact the VA Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. VA may pay for or provide you with a discount for respite services, home health aides and adult day services. Explain your situation and ask about services your loved one may be eligible for. If your loved one isn't already enrolled in VA healthcare, he/she may need to get enrolled first, so ask about how to go about doing that.
Getting respite care means taking care of your loved ones and yourself - so glad you are willing to do so! Sometimes it can be hard for caregivers to let go and let someone else care for their loved ones even for a short time. But most caregivers will tell you that a little break can go a long way, and can make them better caregivers in the long run.
Please let me know if you have any other questions - and keep us posted about respite services you wind up with!
Hi! Happy to be focusing on respite this month. As caregivers we all get exhausted, and yet it's often hard to find help - and to accept help. I have cared for my grandparents, my sister and my parents. For more than a decade I was involved in very intensive hands on care for my parents, and I was always working on getting more help! But there are definitely some challenges. The first step is to realize this:
That's right! We can do things we never thought we would do, but we simply can't do anything. We have to accept help and build a team. So getting "respite" means getting help to care for your loved ones - hopefully so you can get a break and take care of yourself.
We had a lot of help from the VA because my Dad was a WWII and Korea Veteran. Eventually I paid for extra help too. Near the end of my Dad's life, we needed two people at all times when he was up and moving to help him walk, so when respite came, I didn't leave, but those extra hands were sure a huge relief!