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  • Jennie Johnson

What is respite care?

Updated: Apr 26



Respite care is short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be just a few hours, or several weeks. Respite care can be provided in the home, in a hospital, or at a senior community. Caregivers who routinely take time for themselves using respite care have been shown to increase their resilience and provide higher quality care over longer periods. Look for communities that either explicitly offer respite care or adult day care services.


Who is respite care for?

Some of the most common use cases for respite care are:

  1. Giving the caregiver an opportunity to tackle their other responsibilities

  2. A break to increase caregiver resilience

  3. Travel

  4. A trial for a senior living community

  5. Easing into a permanent transition to senior living


Cost of Respite Care

When provided at home through a home health aide, respite care in Pennsylvania averages about $22 per hour. Adult day care averages $65 per day. Residential care costs are closer to $100 – $250 per day.


There are a number of ways to mitigate the cost of respite care. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging administers funds through its Caregiver Support Program. Expenses are reimbursed on a sliding scale. If your income is below 200% of the federal poverty line, you are eligible to receive 100% reimbursement. Those whose income is over 380% of the Federal Poverty Line receive no financial reimbursement but can receive Care Management and other non-reimbursable services such as caregiver education.


Funding may also be available through Medicaid or for Veterans. Additional resources may be available through the Pennsylvania Respite Coalition Alliance for Community Respite Care (ACRC).

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