Caregivers of an adult, who don’t take some time for themselves (respite), have been found to develop chronic health problems at nearly twice the rate of non-caregivers. And as many as 70% of family caregivers experience depression and anxiety.
If you don’t take care of yourself, who is going to be the caregiver for your loved one?
Many families don’t see caring for an aging spouse or parent as a burden; rather it is just what you do for people as they get older. A profile of informal caregiving in Texas discovered the following about caregivers of older adults:
- 75% are Caucasian or Hispanic
- the majority are the child or spouse of the person they care for
- 90% live within 10 miles of the person they care for
- 95% provide care at least once a week
- More than half are not employed
- They are likely to be between ages 40 and 64
- they are more likely to be female
There’s no crystal ball; you do your best, with loving intentions. Try to keep in mind the bigger picture — health, safety and quality of life for yourself as well as your loved one. Share the load, take breaks without guilt, use humor, don’t overlook the small gifts along the way.
Can My Family Provide Respite?
If your spouse needs a companion while you run some errands, willing family and friends may be a great option. But if your loved one has special medical needs they can’t take care of or if you need help for an extended time, you may have to find a professional respite provider. (Learn more about this below.)
Visit “What is Respite,” for more information about finding the right caregiver for your loved one.
Where Is Respite Provided?
Where you get respite depends on family preferences, available services and other factors. The most important thing is that you find what is right for your family and that you, as caregiver, get a break.
Respite can be provided many places:
- In your home
- The home of a family or friend
- At an adult day care center
- At an assisted living facility or nursing home (in the case of extended respite)
How do I Find a Respite Provider?
Please visit the Texas Health and Human Services searchable list of respite providers and programs in Texas. It includes all types of providers and you can search it based on the type of service you need and where you live.
If you are looking for more informal arrangements, you might consider asking family or friends for help, putting a notice up at your church, placing an ad in the paper or forming a caregiver cooperative.
How much does respite care cost?
As with all things in life, what you need often determines the cost.
If you need someone to keep your husband company while you run errands, you might be able to get a family member or friend to stay with him while you are out. Or you might even be able to hire a student or retiree for a reasonable amount.
If your mother needs medical care that can’t be provided by an untrained person, you likely will want to find a respite provider with trained staff.
Before you worry about the cost, find out if your loved one qualifies for state or federal programs that might cover the cost. These may include services from Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Affairs or others.
To find out about Medicaid or other state programs, call 1-855-937-2372 to talk with a trained professional about your options.
To find out respite services for pre-9/11 veterans, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Respite website. For information on how to access respite services for post-9/11 veterans, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support website.
To find out about Medicare benefits, visit Medicare.gov.
Source: Texas Health and Human Services
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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