Understanding Respite Care and Its Many Benefits


Respite care is care provided to senior citizens by close family friends or professional caregivers. However, this type of care is temporary, not permanent. The aim is to give the primary caregiver time off to take a break, rest, run personal errands, and attend to personal matters. This is necessary because figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that as many of 54% of primary caregivers report worsening health due to the nature of their work. In addition, 29% face difficulties balancing work and family responsibilities. Here is some more information on this type of non-medical home care:

An Overview of Respite Care

This type of care involves consulting with a facility or professional to look after an elderly loved one for a few hours or days. During this period, you can go on a short holiday or attend to pressing personal matters such as ironing out tax issues and settling pending bills. In fact, the National Respite Network recommends that primary caregivers should consider respite care to avoid burnout and stress. In addition, respite care comes in handy when a primary caregiver falls ill or must travel elsewhere urgently.

Arranging Respite Care

Before leaving a senior citizen in the hands of a temporary caregiver, it is advisable to make proper arrangements. This includes arrangements related to medications, diet, exercise, hospital visits, or any other activity related to the daily schedule of an elderly person. This will make it easy for a temporary caregiver to ease into your primary caregiver’s role. Some firms that offer respite care services require this information a few days before a primary caregiver takes a break. Despite respite care’s obvious benefits to primary care givers, these services are highly underutilized, according to a study carried out by the National Alliance of Caregiving and AARP. This may be due to the fact that many primary caregivers rarely admit they need a break, or rely on a senior home care agency full-time.


If you are the primary caregiver of a senior citizen, you should consider using respite care services. This will allow you to take a break and re-energize or attend to personal matters. The good news is a majority of in-home care agencies in the US and Canada offer respite care services.

David J. Caesar, Vice President, Franchise Operations, Always Best Care Senior Services is a frequent and passionate contributor to senior care publications, and lives with his family in Roseville, CA.