Respite care and adult day care are crucial to the millions of Americans that provide unpaid in-home care for the elderly relatives, friends and neighbors. Respite caregivers and adult day care programs monitor and provide companionship to seniors for a period of time so that their regular caregivers can take a break to shop, runs errands, or tend to their own personal needs.
There are different types of respite and adult day cares available. Here is some information on what they are and how to find and pay for their services.
Respite Care is designed to give both caregivers and seniors a break from their usual routine. It ensures that the caregivers have some free time, take care of other responsibilities and obtain mental breaks which are often very much needed. It also allows seniors to talk and spend time with people other than their usual caregiver.
Respite caregivers provide monitoring and companionship to seniors for short periods of time. They can do things such as provide companionship, prepare meals, or provide personal care such as, assisting with bathing or exercising. Sometimes they even help with medical needs-administering medication.
People providing respite care are often friends, other family members, members of the community, or even church or synagogue members. You can also hire someone through an agency or on your own.
Care can be provided on a scheduled or occasional basis, depending on the needs of the family. It can be obtained wherever your loved one lives – at home, at a church or synagogue, community center or nursing facility as well.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care centers are formal programs that take care of elders during the day. They provide companionship, social activities, meals, personal care services, exercise, and an assortment of recreation activities.
If the day care is affiliated with a hospital or nursing facility, it may also provide medical services. Some day care centers allow drop-ins while others require participants to pay in advance for scheduled attendance.
Paying for Respite Care & Adult Day Care
The cost of respite and adult day care varies depending on the facility offering the services and skill level of the caregivers. If you need help paying for respite care you can consider:
· Long term care insurance - Some policies will cover part of respite care expenses.
· Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - A federal program that provides benefits to disabled and elderly people whose income and assets are very low. It may cover home healthcare costs.
· Government Programs -There are federal and state programs that may help pay for respite care. To find out what services or funds are available in your area you can contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
Choosing a Respite Caregiver or Adult Day Care Center
Think of what types of services you want, what type of schedule and whether or not you want regular or occasional care. You should also think about whether or not the elder would benefit from group interaction or just one companion, and if medical services will need to be provided.
Finding Respite & Adult Day Care Programs
Ask your friends, family members and acquaintances – especially those with older parents - if they have any recommendations or warnings about certain programs.
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for referrals and information on both. You can find your local AAA through www.eldercare.gov.
The National Adult Day Service Association provides referrals about adult day care centers nadsa.org.
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center has a respite locator that provides links to respite providers that are in your area at www.respitelocator.org.
All caregivers need an occasional break to take care of themselves and their families. Do your homework before choosing a respite care provider or adult day care program for your loved one. They are not all “created equal.” Make your decision based upon your loved one’s needs, personal recommendations and your budget.