Everything You Need To Know About Respite Care

According to statistics from the AARP, over 53 million adults in the United States provide unpaid care for older adults. Being a primary caregiver can often lead to caregiver burnout and stress. Providing around-the-clock care may be necessary for elderly individuals with dementia and other health issues.

Respite care can help relieve some of the exhaustion that caregivers face by giving them some rest from their caregiving responsibilities. Read on to learn more about the advantages of respite care and various respite care services below. 

What Is Respite Care For Seniors?

What Is Respite Care For Seniors?

Respite care aims to relieve a primary caregiver by replacing them with a qualified caregiver depending on their needs. Since caring for a family member, full-time may be taxing, having someone else provide care on your behalf can take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. 

Respite care can provide care in patients' homes, daycare centers, or nursing facilities for periods ranging from hours to days or weeks. During this time, caregivers can regain energy and prioritize their own needs. 

Sometimes, respite care can be confused with hospice care or nursing care. However, hospice care is for those nearing the end of their lives, while nursing homes have trained nurses to see to the medical needs of their residents. 

Those who may prefer respite care include: 

  • Those looking to relax and take a break from their responsibilities
  • Those wishing to boost their levels of social interaction as a caregiver
  • Those who are feeling emotionally drained and burned out

Types Of Respite Care Services

Due to the pandemic, more and more respite care is needed. The Arkansas Legislative Council recently approved the Dementia Respite Care program to support families and caregivers. 

Respite care can be provided in various settings, which helps ease the burden on respite care providers. 

In-home Respite Care

In-home respite services can provide care for seniors at home. This includes bathing, dressing, and feeding on personal care providers or services like meal prep, housekeeping, and shopping. This can benefit loved ones who wish to remain at home as they receive care for shorter periods. 

Out-Of-Home Respite Care

Out-of-home respite care can take place in adult daycare centers. Care is usually provided on weekdays or weekends during daytime or nighttime hours. Meals and snacks are generally included, along with social activities to help seniors feel more supported. 

Other options include respite care in group homes, hospitals, and nursing homes. Depending on your needs, they can temporarily provide emergency care or scheduled services in these specialized facilities. 

Sitter-Companion Services

Older adults who are feeling lonely may benefit from companion care at home. Through informal companion care, friends may stop by to visit or help with household duties. Local organizations may also provide aid on a paid basis through your local Area Agency on Aging. 

Consumer-Directed Respite

Consumer-Directed respite care provides short-term care, including personal care, assistance with ADLs, monitoring self-administration of medications, and supervision. This is a good option for seniors who wish to choose their care providers instead of a state agency determining the required care levelthe required care level. 

Respite Center-based

Respite programs may work with community centers, senior service centers, or other organizations to provide care in a supervised environment. These are a good choice for more affordable care for seniors looking for an option close to their homes. 

Residential Facilities

Senior nursing homes, assisted living programs, and nursing homes may provide a specific number of beds for short-term respite for caregivers. These are generally good options for those looking for an overnight, weekend, or longer duration stays since professional caregivers, and health aides can help provide temporary relief for families. 


Hospice care generally takes place in senior homes or hospitals. It is end-of-life care for seniors whose physical health is deteriorating. This can help ensure that excellent care for your loved ones and their dignity is preserved as they spend their final moments on earth. 

Benefits Of Respite Care For Seniors

Benefits Of Respite Care For Seniors

With the flexible options provided for seniors, respite care is the key to preventing caretaker burnout which is common in the profession. Respite care for seniors can be particularly beneficial for those in the later stages of dementia or their life.

Taking A Break 

A break for caregivers can be invaluable in helping alleviate caregiver stress. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can greatly impact the the caregivers' quality of care making respite care for seniors with dementia a valuable investment. 

Access 24/7 Professional Care

Reaching out to medical facilities, an adult day care center, or looking at in-home care can provide you with access to high-quality care to get the peace of mind you need as you go about your daily activities. 

Reduces Social Isolation

When it comes to respite care for seniors with dementia, it can be rare to have a couple of hours to spend with your social circle. Respite care can give you the time you need to spend time with your loved ones and change up your daily caregiving routine. 

What Is The Average Cost Of Respite Care?

What Is The Average Cost Of Respite Care?

A common question people tend to ask about is the cost of respite care for seniors. Services like daycare are generally more affordable than monthly or yearly care options. A Genworth survey indicates that the median cost for adult day health care is $80, but costs are highest in Maine ($165 per day) and lowest in Alabama ($31 per day).

A more expensive option is looking at respite care from an assisted living facility, which can cost around $152 per day. However, costs can range anywhere from $103 in Missouri to $230 in Delaware.

Furthermore, because seniors with dementia tend to have more specialized needs, respite care can be pricier.

Does Medicare Cover Respite Care For Seniors?

Medicare only pays for respite care for those who qualify for Medicare hospice care. Coverage includes the cost of respite care, including room and board in a Medicare-certified hospice facility. Nevertheless, you are not allowed to stay more than five years in a row, and you may have to pay up to 5% of inpatient care costs. 

While more than one stay is allowed, it should only be used periodically. In order to qualify for Medicare hospice care, it needs to be certified by a hospice doctor and a person's primary doctor that they have a terminal illness like dementia and are expected to live for a period not exceeding six months. 

The person in question should have also chosen palliative hospice care instead of medical treatment for the illness. Otherwise, Medicare will not pay for respite care for older people.

If possible, it is best to obtain professional respite care in the latter stages of the disease to provide high-quality life up to the last breath. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Respite Care For Seniors

Here are some common questions about the range of care options provided by respite care for seniors. 

Who would provide respite care for the caregiver?

Respite care can be provided by residential programs that provide temporary care for varying lengths of time. Group homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and other specialized facilities provide emergency and planned overnight services from professional care providers, allowing caregivers 24-hour relief.

What is the difference between respite care and hospice care?

Hospice care provides end-of-life comfort to those suffering from a terminal illness. On the other hand, respite care can provide some stress relief for family caregivers who are starting to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities they face for a parent or family member in need of care. 

What are the benefits of respite care?

Respite care can alleviate many of the stresses that a full-time caregiver faces. It can reduce the overall stress levels of the carer, relieve feelings of frustration and exhaustion, and provide them the time they need to unwind with family, friends, and their social circle. Overall this can improve the relationship between the carer and the person they look after. 

Most of the time, long-time family caregivers may not realize that they need to take a break from their caregiving duties. In reality, caring for an older adult with dementia can be a heavy burden that can be tiring, lonely, and overwhelming at times. Respite care can relieve the constant care, improving caregivers' mental and physical health. 

Read on to learn about whether respite care is a good option for your needs on Senior Strong today! 

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