Respite Care for Caregivers
According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), approximately 7.5 million Americans care for loved ones age 49 or over for an average of 41 hours a week. What many of these caregivers are unaware of is that respite care exists that would allow them time off from the often around-the-clock services they are providing for their care recipients. Respite care is a service where emergency or planned care is provided to someone with special needs providing temporary relief to family caregivers who are caring for that person. This break can help caregivers avoid caregiver burnout, therefore making sure the highest level of care is provided. Here are four important pieces of information to know about respite care:
1. The respite care market is larger and more accessible than many people anticipate. Access to Respite Care and Help (ARCH) is a great resource for finding various respite services in your area.
2. There are multiple ways to pay for respite care that do not include the full out of pocket cost. These include: Medicaid waiver program benefits, Medicare hospice benefits, grant-supported pilot programs that are free for the caregivers, and long-term care insurance (LTCI) benefits. If you are interested in getting respite care to help look after your loved one but are worried about cost, financial assistance may be available.
3. Having a respite care provider can provide caregivers with a more flexible schedule therefore receiving time off when it is actually needed. This allows more productivity for the caregiver, as opposed to only having free time based on other people’s convenience which might not work for when you need to get specific errands done.
4. The added free time that respite care can provide allows caregivers space to consider the benefits of alternative care options. For example, by asking those close with the care recipient to come together for a family meeting and each pool their resources, a unified care plan can be agreed upon as a group leading to a healthier life for both the caregiver and care recipient.
It is important to know you are not alone as a caregiver. Look into various respite care services to avoid caregiver burnout and allow for the highest quality of care possible for your loved one. If you are unsure if respite care is included in the care recipient's long term care policy, contact the insurance broker, insurance carrier, or your local office on aging for further information.
5 Things to Know About Giving Caregivers a Break. LifeHealthPro.com. 7 Feb. 2016.
State Respite Coalitions. National Respite Center and Resource Center. 7 Feb. 2016.