What is respite care? You might want to know about this if you’re caring for an aging or ill family member. Caregiving can be personally rewarding – and exhausting. Respite care can give you an emotional and physical break from the stress.

The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) urges you to plan in advance for respite care. Don’t feel guilty if you need time away from caregiving, the FCA website says. If you’re caring for someone who’s terminally ill, Medicare might cover respite care.

What is respite care?

Respite care provides temporary relief for caregivers from the demands of caring for a loved one. Respite care in a hospital or other qualified facility can help make sure your loved one is getting the attention he needs.

As a caregiver, notes the FCA, the important thing to remember is that respite care can give you the time you need to relax, rejuvenate, reconnect with other people and interests you cherish, and manage your other responsibilities.

Respite care can take different forms, according to the nonprofit organization HelpGuide.

  • Respite care in the home. This type of respite care can be as simple as someone covering for you so you can leave for a few hours. Family members, neighbors, or community-based volunteer groups might help you with respite care. You may also want to consider a home health agency. Often these agencies can provide respite care that ranges from personal care to skilled nursing services.
  • Respite care in the community. Adult day care centers might provide a wide range of services. They may have activities, staff, and equipment designed to fit the various levels of care that seniors may require. Some adult day care centers might offer services like health monitoring and physical therapy.
  • Respite care in a health-care facility. Residential facilities, short-term assisted living facilities, and nursing homes may be an option for you and your loved one. These facilities can generally provide skilled nursing and custodial care.

Respite care and Medicare coverage

In some cases, Medicare might cover limited respite care.

If your loved one has Medicare Part A and is in hospice care, Part A may cover temporary respite care. The respite care must be in an approved facility for up to five days on an occasional basis. You have to pay 5% of the Medicare-approved inpatient respite care cost. You can get respite care more than once.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may provide coverage to help pay the cost of in-home health aide care, transportation, and/or meal delivery.

Where do you find respite care providers?

Listed below are some organizations that can assist you as you search for the right respite care providers for your situation.

  • The Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) combines the efforts of the Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help you find care options, including respite care.
  • ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center https://archrespite.org/respitelocator has a national service locator to provide assistance in locating services in your community. ARCH also provides information on state funding programs and respite care.
  • The National Alliance for Caregiving is a joint venture of several private and governmental agencies. You can contact this resource by visiting its website at http://www.caregiving.org/

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