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Paying for Respite Care for the Elderly

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Paying for Respite Care for the Elderly

As the number of adults living with illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s continues to climb, more family members are becoming the caretakers for loved ones who need a helping hand. Experts believe there are over 43 million of these unpaid caregivers in the country today. As our population continues to grey, the numbers are expected to go even higher.


What makes the role of family caregiver even more challenging is that, in addition to providing an average of 24.4 hours of care each week to their senior loved one, the majority of caregivers work at least part-time outside the home. 65% of them are female.


When the demands of juggling so many roles becomes too much, respite care can be a solution.


The Types of Respite Care for a Senior Loved One

If you are a family caregiver, there are several types of respite care services to consider when you need a break.


  • Informal respite: When a friend or family member stays with your loved one for a few hours so you can take a break. Sometimes local churches and synagogues have volunteers who can fulfill this role too.

  • Home care agencies: In-home care agencies have professionally trained caregivers you can employ for a few hours a week to care for your loved one.

  • Adult day center: Another option is for your senior loved one to attend a local adult day program. Most operate during normal business hours from Monday through Friday. Some even offer transportation.

  • Assisted living community: Many assisted living communities, including Elmcroft Senior Living, offer short-term stays. Respite residents enjoy the same rich benefits as permanent residents. They include healthy, chef-inspired meals, opportunities for socialization, wellness programs and daily life enrichment activities.

Your Guide to Paying For Respite Care

Several questions families often have include how much does respite care cost and how do I pay for respite care. And one misconception people have is that there is a Medicare respite care benefit. 


First, the bad news. Unless a senior is on hospice, Medicare typically doesn’t cover the cost of respite care.


But the good news is that respite care is often more affordable than you think. Depending upon where you live, what type of care you chose and for how long, respite costs can range from $20 an hour to $200 a day.


While most families pay for respite services using private funds, there are other options to explore:


  • Call your local agency on aging. They often know of local funding sources and waiver programs to help finance respite care. Medicaid will help finance respite stays in some states and the agency on aging can help you learn more.

  • Long-term care insurance. If your senior loved one has long-term care insurance, the policy may cover short-term senior care expenses. Review their policy to see if it does.

  • Reverse mortgages might be another option to talk with your attorney or a certified financial planner about. These mortgages can help free up some of the equity in your older family member’s house to help finance their care.

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