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What is respite care?

Respite care is often referred to as the gift of time.

Find home care near you or your loved one:

"I'm taking time to take care of myself."

Respite care refers to short-term, temporary care provided to someone who needs assistance so that a family caregiver can take a break from the daily routine, challenges and stress of caring for an aging adult. Respite is often referred to as the gift of time.

Respite services may involve overnight care for an extended period of time such as when the caregiver's family takes a vacation. Or respite care can be for just a few hours a day or week to give the caregiver some time off to take a break, exercise, conduct personal business or even visit with friends.

"This [respite care] allows family caregivers some time away, while knowing that their relative is getting the care and companionship he or she needs," says Richard Schulz, Ph.D., caregiver stress expert at the University of Pittsburgh.

While respite care may require some financial outlay, it must be weighed as an option to support the mental stability and health of the family caregiver. Even using just a couple of the services (errands and shopping) can lessen the burden of caregiving considerably.

Agencies that provide information and services are hospice care, home health agencies, non-medical senior care agencies, social services, private nursing companies, senior centers, churches or the National Family Caregivers Association.

There are many ways to de-stress as a caregiver. Surely you deserve a break.

Last revised: April 12, 2010

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. November 8, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Posted by Donna Ciolli

    I am looking for a temporary caregiver in the Reno, NV area for my cousin who had open heart surgery 3 weeks ago. Her husband lives with her but has hearing difficulties with hearing aids in both ears & macular degeneration. They need help with meals, light housekeeping, Grocery shopping & running errands. This would only be for 3-4 weeks. I am staying until Sun. afternoon. What would your rates be? Do you have a minimum number of hours you stay? Thanks, Cousin Donna


    • November 11, 2019 at 8:24 am | Posted by bpetersen

      Thank you for your interest in Home Instead! You can find out more about the services available in your area by going to and entering in their zip code. From there you will be able to contact your local office directly for details and to schedule that Care Consultation.


  2. August 9, 2019 at 9:10 am | Posted by Sonia Wolfe

    My Mother who is 97 years old and has dementia lives with me. We get some help from the government a few hours per day which is a tremendous help!! I am looking for someone to come to my home and stayed overnight and a few hours per day with her while we go out of town to AZ. She used to come with us but the drive is to much for her now. Where can I find affordable help? Overnights and weekends are the hardest times to find help. We live in Thousand Oaks, CA


  3. June 28, 2019 at 11:17 am | Posted by Lindy

    My question is if Medicare and/or Medicaid help pay for a temporary stay for my disabled friend while I go on vacation?


  4. August 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Posted by Christy DeWolfe

    My dad is soon to be 92 years of age and needs assistance while I leave town for a wedding in November. Looking for a respite care facility he can stay in while I am out of town.


    • October 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Posted by Home Instead

      Hi Christy, have you considered home care respite services? Check out for more information about services in your area. We hope you have a great time at the wedding with peace of mind that your dad is well cared for!


    • July 1, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Posted by Brenda J

      Soon to go out of town for a Funeral I need assistance with our uncle for 5 days


  5. December 6, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Posted by Dawn

    I am a caregiver to my mother in law, we will be going out of town and we can't leave her home alone for this period of time, how do I go about finding a short term facility for her to stay in while we will be out of town? We live in Homestead Florida. Thank you! Dawn


    • December 8, 2016 at 11:47 am | Posted by Home Instead

      Hi Dawn, Have you considered having care come to her rather than her going to a facility? Home care will allow your mother-in-law to remain comfortable at home while receiving the care support she needs and you the peace of mind knowing she is in capable hands while you are out of town. The Home Instead office in Miami services the Homestead area. Here is more information about their services


  6. August 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Posted by Lois Eggleston

    How do I find this type insurance for the future? Also how I can check on a company that has an agent that is trying to sell me this kind of insurance during an appointment? I just turned 71years and all my children live out of this state. Thanks, Lois


  7. October 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Posted by jason Mckinney

    what should I do? my wife is a caregiver for two people for a total of 176 hours a month. the lady gets mad everytime I want to do something with my wife. yet when she wants something it has to be right now regardless of what is going on. There have been times when she will have my wife get her on the bed pan then she will just sit there for 1-2 hours before saying that she wants to get off but this happens mostly at night when My wife and I are trying to get some sleep. I feel that my wife is on burnout mode as she has been feeling poorly the last few days. What can we do?


    • July 25, 2012 at 6:00 am | Posted by Zahid

      My youngest child had sevree colic and hardly slept more than 15 minutes at a time for the first few months. Ironically, my husband was working out of the country at the time (and getting his sleep, I might add). He asked a friend of ours to be on call to help me. That friend stopped over every day for one hour and just held my beautiful crying baby. It was a godsend! Usually I just took a long shower ... or went for a run. It was wonderful to have the help because I was a tired, pitiful human.


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