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Respite Care – Taking Care of the Caregiver

Long term care for people suffering from Alzheimerâs Disease and other progressive, degenerative neurological diseases comes in many forms.  In past posts I have discussed nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care and home care administered by professionals and family members.  Another type of care that you may or may not have heard of is called respite care.  This type of care is as much for the caregiver as it is for the ill family member.


For so many people care is provided by family members.  As anyone who has provided this level of care for any length of time knows, it is an exhausting task, both mentally and physically.  It is a full time job, but not one typically limited to 9 to 5 hours.  It is often a 24/7 task and the toll, especially if the caregiver is a healthy, but elderly, spouse, can be harsh.  Thatâs why respite care is so important.


Respite care is a form of short term relief for the primary caregiver.  That caregiver may need time away to ârecharge the batteriesâ or to address his/her own health issues.  There are various programs and services available to provide care to the ill loved one while the caregiver is taking a break.  This can range from home health care to adult day care to overnight care in a licensed facility such as an assisted living facility or nursing home.  The care is temporary, usually a period of days or weeks at a time.


Financial aid for respite care may also be available through the Alzheimerâs Associationâs Greater New Jersey chapter.  The program will provide reimbursement of up to $1000 in respite care expenses incurred during the 3 month period beginning on the date of acceptance into the program.  Eligibility is not limited to people with Alzheimerâs but is open to individuals suffering from other related progressive, degenerative, neurological dementia.  While funding for the Caregivers Respite Care Assistance Program is limited it does not require disclosure of financial information.  And there is no downside to applying.  If funds are not available when you apply, your application will be kept on file for 12 months. For more information go to  If you live outside the Northern and Central New Jersey area check with your local Alzheimerâs Association chapter to determine if a similar program is available where you live.