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Posted on February 8th, 2016 [permalink]]

So many caregivers find themselves running on empty; selflessly taking care of a loved one’s every need in a very “task oriented” way to the point that they may not even realize the fatigue and resentment they are feeling. There are so many reasons to utilize respite care options, not simply to avoid burnout, but more importantly is that “Healthy Caregivers have Healthier Patients”. Where do I begin?

“START where you are, USE what you have, DO what you can.” Arthur Ashe, Professional Tennis Player
The simplest in home respite options are to use family members, friends, church groups, students from health colleges, and volunteers. Many caregivers don’t want to impose upon others however; many would prefer to help if they are asked. Furthermore, sometimes the patient may get tired of receiving care from the primary caregiver, and both can get a much needed “break” from each other. Make a list of simple tasks that can be offered to people when they ask “do you need anything”, and give them an answer: I’d love to have help with laundry, run a doctor visit, pick up prescriptions, etc.
There is a tool online that many families are using to distribute tasks to multiple care providers called They have a message board, and the primary caregiver can put in tasks that they need help with, so that other family members can be notified and sign up.

In home assistance can also come from Medicare Home Health providers such as physical therapists and nursing evaluations. Private duty home care agencies sometimes offer special packages that can be easily afforded.

In some states, Medicaid State Aid includes weekly private duty care staff to provide some health with the activities of daily living, Adult Day Care programs, and even Assisted Living financial assistance. To see if you qualify for Medicaid in your state, the process can begin online at (enter state). In most cases, a case manager is assigned, and most interviews can be done over the phone, or at home.
Out of the home respite options include Adult Day Centers, Residential Respite care, and Caregiver Support Groups. Assisted Living facilities often offer a 3-7 day Respite Stay program that can be free or reasonably priced, and key to attending family events, and maintaining a good life, work and balance in their role.

Some organizations that offer respite financial assistance are listed below:

American Association of People with Disabilities
ARCH National Respite Network
Family Caregiver Alliance
Hospice Foundation of America
National Day Services Association
Mental Health America
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Volunteer Caregiving Network

Retired Military and their spouses often qualify for additional money to pay for care under the Aid and Attendance Benefit, which can pay up to an additional $2120.00 monthly to cover in home private duty caregivers, adult day care programs, and assisted living. If there are liquid assets over $80,000, (not including house or a car) then it’s best to contact an Elder Law Attorney that specializes in Veteran Benefits to submit the application. However, if there are no liquid assets, or less than $80,000 (not including house or a car), then it’s best to contact the local Veteran Service Officers (free) through the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers

There are many other benefits that may be available through the VA Healthcare System including mental health counseling, social services and widows’ benefits. To begin the application for the Veteran Healthcare System, go online at You will need the veteran’s DD214, social security number, and date of birth to get started.

Achieving balance as a Caregiver is essential in maintaining outside relationships, and good physical, emotional and mental health.

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