Caring for a spouse, parent, or other loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease is a grueling experience. And yet, about 15.7 million Americans willingly give up their time, their homes, and their peace of mind for their loved ones stricken with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
The emotional and physical stress takes its toll after a while. Many times, these caregivers continue to devote hours a day to their loved one’s care even after they’ve moved to a nursing home or memory care unit. They risk their mental and physical health and lasting damage if they don’t take a respite break.
Respite care is an important, but little-known, aspect of healthcare. Respite care is short term relief for primary caregivers. There are a few different options for respite care, including at-home care or a temporary nursing home stay. But these options are often very expensive, because Medicare does not cover respite care. And if you want to take a vacation to rest and recharge, you need to find a caring, safe respite option that won’t break the bank.
Fortunately, there are free resources available for respite. We’ve compiled the best ones for you so you can easily explore your options.
Free Respite Resources for Caregivers
Administration for Community Living
The ACL runs a program called “National Family Caregiver Support Program” (NFCSP). It provides grants to states based on how many of their residents are age 70 and older. The program funds many different supportive services to help informal caregivers at every stage of their journey.
Besides offering general information about aging and related services, they also offer respite care funding for eligible participants. To find out more, visit the NFCSP web page.
Illinois Respite Coalition
The Illinois Respite Coalition is a support system for caregivers. They provide training, information, and resources for Illinois residents and their loved ones. One of the services they offer is funding for emergency respite. While many people won’t be eligible for funding through this program, it’s open to caregivers who need immediate respite.
To learn more about emergency respite, and see how the Illinois Respite Coalition can help you, visit their website at http://www.illinoisrespitecoalition.org.
Senior Corps’ Senior Companions
For free assistance a few hours a week, you may be able to have a senior companion visit with your ill loved one and help with daily living tasks. This can free you up to work, rest, and take care of your own needs. Senior Corps is a national volunteer organization for individuals age 55 and older. One volunteering opportunity is to be a senior companion—to offer assistance and friendship to frail and sick seniors.
To learn more about the Illinois chapter, visit illinois.gov.
If your sick loved one is a military veteran, they may be eligible for up to 30 days of respite care each year. To find out if they qualify for this benefit, call the VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.
Road Scholar’s Caregiver Grants
Road Scholar is a non-profit organization that provides educational trips for mostly older adults. They fund up to $1400 for any of their tours for eligible caregivers. These include individuals 50 or older who are currently serving as caregivers or who lost a loved one within the last two years. For the caregiver who wants to get away for a bit and finds these types of trips invigorating, this can be a wonderful opportunity.
To learn more, visit roadscholar.org.