An Alzheimer’s Association Respite Care Guide


The term "respite care" refers to a wide range of services intended to give temporary rest and relief to families caring for their loved ones. Respite care can be provided for an hour, a day, a week or longer. It can be provided in the home or in another setting. The goal is to enable the caregiver to attend to other duties, participate in social activities and take vacations, without sacrificing their loved one's continuity of care, security and peace of mind.

Both the caregiver and the care receiver benefit from respite services. The caregiver receives immediate, although temporary, relief from their daily tasks and responsibilities. This can help to reduce stress and lessen the burden of care giving. The care receiver has the opportunity to socialize with others and participate in new activities.

There are many respite care providers and facilities that can provide adult day care and overnight services. The costs vary with the services needed. Medicare does not pay for these services. Some long-term care insurance policies may provide coverage. The care receiver or the family, however, pays for most of the costs.

If you need additional information regarding financial or long term care services, call the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Senior Information and Assistance Services, Information and Referral at (360) 738-2500. Request a resource assessment and an evaluation of your long-term care needs.

It is important to visit several facilities to compare services and to determine if you are comfortable with what is provided. The goal of these services is to provide socialization, safety and assistance with activities of daily living for the care receiver.

The following questions may help you to make your final choice:
  1. What kinds of activities and personal care services are provided?
  2. What hours and days are services available? Are overnight services available?
  3. What are the rates for services? Hourly, daily, overnight, weekly?
  4. Do they take individuals who are incontinent?
  5. Do they specialize in caring for individuals with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease?
  6. Who provides the services? What is their training?
  7. Is it a secured facility?

Respite Care Providers: The following is a list of possible sources for respite care.

  1. Friends, relatives, neighbors and church groups
  2. Adult day care programs
  3. In-Home Service Providers
  4. Nursing homes, residential care facilities, foster homes

In-Home Care Providers: These providers can be individuals or agencies offering a wide range of in-home services. Refer to the Yellow Pages of the phone directory. Services are listed under “Home Health Services.” When you call for services, be prepared to describe the special care needs of the care receiver.

Also, there are support groups that offer encouragement to caregivers and their families.

In Bellingham, call the Alzheimer's Society of Washington’s office at (360) 671-3316 for information about a group near you. If you need further assistance with discussing the care needs of your loved one, please call or visit the Alzheimer's Society:

Alzheimer Society of Washington
1308 Meador Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98229
(360) 671-3316