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What is Respite Care


Updated December 29, 2012

What is Respite Care

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Question: What is Respite Care
What is respite care, and what does it provide for a disabled person and their primary caregiver?

Respite care is temporary relief from caring for someone who is disabled. Respite care allows a caregiver some time away so they can "recharge their batteries." Respite care can be for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week. During respite care, another individual or organization takes over the care of a loved one while the caregiver is away.

Respite caregivers are varied in the services that they provide, depending upon the age and medical condition of the person requiring care. For example, teenagers may attend a week-long or weekend respite care camp. Adults may stay in a facility for a day or a weekend that offers care just to adults. Another option is visiting respite care, in which an individual visits the home of a person needing care. The primary caregiver can use the free time to do something for themselves or to do needed chores around the home.

While the caregiver is away, a respite caregiver provides the same type of care that the primary caregiver does. This includes, feeding, dressing, hygiene care and activities, which would normally occur during the course of a day.

There are many benefits from respite care for caregivers, which includes better mental and physical well-being. Caregivers that have time to themselves are much better equipped to handle the day-to-day caregiving responsibilities and stress.

Respite care may be covered under certain insurance policies; the amount covered varies. To find out about these services in your area, contact the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Aging in your county, or your local hospital.

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