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What Caregivers Should Know about Respite Care

What Caregivers Should Know about Respite Care
guest blog post
March 27, 2019

Being a caregiver is often an unpaid role that family members or close friends take on out of necessity or obligation. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of a senior 65 or older in the United States alone.  

With so many people taking on a caregiver role, it is important to remind them to take time for themselves. Respite care is a great way for caregivers to continue caring for their loved one(s) while giving themselves a necessary break.

Here are just a few of the benefits to respite care:

·        Allows the caregiver to focus on their own needs or hobbies

·        Helps prevent resentment between patient and caregiver

·        The patient gets a change of scenery and another person to interact with

·        A caregiver can return revived, meaning better care for the patient

Let’s look at where to find respite care services and how much caregivers can estimate costs to be.

Where to Find Respite Care Services

Respite care is certainly not a “one size fits all” kind of service. Every situation is different, making it important to explore all available respite care options.

Respite care allows temporary relief to the caregiver in increments as little as a few hours up to weeks at a time.

Short-term residential facilities

Many eldercare facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice centers offer respite care as a service. Many of these facilities have rooms that are designated for respite patients to stay in the short-term.

Cost of Respite Care Services

Some people that opt for these facilities plan to use respite care for overnight stays. Most of the facilities that provide this service offer overnight and extended stays. Depending upon what kind of care is needed, an average rate at this type of facility is $150 to $200 a night.

In-home respite care

In situations where the patient is unable to leave the home or if the caregiver needs respite care provided for several hours at a time, in-home respite care is a great option. In most states, Medicaid offers in-home respite care in the form of its Home and Community Based Services Program (also known as the Medicaid Waiver Program).

Cost of In-Home Respite Care

As with other forms of respite care, the cost of in-home care will depend upon what level of attention is needed and the number of hours needed. According to, in-home respite care will average around $15 to $40 an hour if privately paying. Medicaid provides various number of hours of in-home care depending on the state.

Adult day care

Respite care through an adult day care is an excellent form of respite care for the patient and the caregiver. Caregivers can enlist the services of an adult day care on occasion or even on a set schedule for caregivers who still work full-time.

Cost of Adult Day Care

Adult daycare may be covered by certain insurance plans but can range from $25 to $150 per day. It is best to check with your insurance provider and prospective day care facility about pricing.

Does Original Medicare Cover Respite Care?

Original Medicare covers only medically necessary services. Consequently, this means respite care is only covered by Medicare if the patient is receiving hospice benefits.

In this case, Medicare will cover respite care for up to 5 consecutive days. Though there is a 5-day limit in one bout, the patient can receive this benefit on multiple occasions.

Medicare will cover all but 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for inpatient respite care. Though, if the patient has a Medigap policy, it may help cover additional costs that Medicare does not pay for.

What About Medicare Advantage?

Newly approved benefits on Medicare Advantage plans will now allow some plans to cover respite care with fewer restrictions than Original Medicare. This may include adult day care services or in-home custodial support services.


Undoubtedly, being a caregiver can be tiring yet equally rewarding and meaningful. If being a caregiver means more time at home with your loved one, it can be a priceless journey. Taking advantage of respite care can make a heavy burden much lighter.

By: Guest Author: Danielle Kunkle

Jason Neufeld is the Founder and Managing Partner of Elder Needs Law, a Florida estate planning and elder law firm he created in 2017. With more than 15 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including Medicaid planning, estate planning, elder law, probate, Medicare, and life insurance.

Jason received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami — School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar and the Broward County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Rising Star and Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers and among the Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend in 2024.

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