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Respite Services

August 3, 2010

Respite is a term used to describe time taken by the caregiver for rest and rejuvenation from the demands of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other long-term illnesses. This “time out” is just as important for the Alzheimer’s sufferer as it is for the caregiver. Caregivers need time away from their caregiving responsibilities to pursue personal interests, socialize with friends and family, or simply to take a break. Though caregivers often feel guilty leaving their loved one in the care of someone else, it is imperative for both parties. Caregivers who neglect their own physical and emotional health may be ill-equipped to meet the daily challenges of caregiving.

What are the different types of respite services?

Out-of-home Respite:

NOTE: Not all ALFs and nursing homes have the expertise to take care of people with Alzheimer’s. When you are speaking to the facilities, be sure to ask whether the facility is able to furnish this specialized care.

In-home respite care:

NOTE: Not all home-care agencies have the expertise to take care of people with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to ask if they do when speaking to them.

Are respite services covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor Medicaid covers respite services. Private insurance plans vary in their coverage; check with your plan’s administrator or the respite provider to find out if the services are covered.

Where can I locate respite services in my area?
Respite comes in many forms, as discussed elsewhere in this section, and may be offered by a number of different types of continuing-care agencies or facilities. To locate respite services in your area, your best bet is to contact your local agency on aging or work through a geriatric care manager. They can refer you to appropriate services that will meet your specific needs.

What questions do I ask when I call the respite service providers?

More information is available from the National Institutes of Health: Alzheimer’s Caregiver

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