Respite Resources for Family Caregivers

If you are a family caregiver of an older adult, sometimes you need to take a break. Taking a break allows you to tend to other responsibilities or your own physical and emotional well-being. Respite care is a term that refers to services for older adults when offered on a temporary basis so the caregiver can have a rest.


Who provides respite care?

Respite is provided by family and friends and volunteers as well as by paid professionals.

Hints & Tips

Consider reaching out to faith-based communities and community service groups for volunteers who may be able to provide respite care.


Why should I use respite care services?

Respite may be a few hours or a few days at a time. There are a number of ways you can spend  your time off during your respite:

  • Share time with family.
  • Just relax.
  • Treat yourself to lunch at a restaurant.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Read a book.
  • Run errands.
  • Exercise.
  • Go to the doctor.

Hints & Tips

Respite care offers you peace of mind. It may be planned in advance or made available to assist during times when you cannot provide care.


What are the different types of paid respite care?

In-Home Care

  • In-home care is provided by individual providers, home care agencies, or the county.
  • Most in-home care is paid for by the client.
  • See the county's Guide to In-Home Care Services
  • Go to Senior Navigator and search for "respite care" and "Fairfax" to find providers.

Hints & Tips

Using a home care agency instead of privately hiring someone relieves you of screening and hiring responsibilities, and handling payroll and taxes.


Community-Based Respite Care

  • Provided at adult day health care centers that employ trained health care professionals.
  • Learn about adult day health care centers in Fairfax County.

Hints & Tips

Community-based respite care may include support groups for you. Fees for respite care may be based on a sliding fee scale and scholarships may be available.




Residential Respite Care

  • Provided at assisted living or nursing facilities, for a few days or a few weeks, and is often called “short stays.”
  • Admission requires an assessment.
  • Fees vary widely and usually are not covered by private insurance or Medicare.
  • Go to Senior Navigator and search for "respite care" and "Fairfax" to find providers.

Hints & Tips

If you become ill or have an unexpected situation, you may need to use emergency respite care. Having a plan is important. Home health agencies, assisted living and nursing facilities typically offer this type of respite. Try one out in a non-emergency to see how it may work for you. Overnight care allows you take an extended break or vacation while your family member stays in a supervised, safe environment.


What type of respite care services do I need?

The type of respite care service you need depends on your needs and preferences, as well as what is available in your community. Here are a few steps:

  • Start by creating a list of the reasons you need respite.
  • Rank your reasons in order of importance. This will help to ensure that your most important needs will be addressed.
  • Determine how often you need respite and the length of time required. Consider the needs and preferences of your family member.

Hints & Tips

Keep in mind that many family caregivers use a combination of respite care services.


If I choose a paid respite care provider, what do I need to consider?

When choosing a respite care provider, asking the following questions:

  • Is the provider licensed, and if so, by whom?
  • What is the training and level of experience of the staff who will be providing the direct care, and how are they supervised?
  • What services are provided? Is transportation provided?
  • What are the hours of service? Are there a minimum number of required hours/days?
  • What is the cost of the service? What type of payment is accepted?
Hints & Tips

Remember, you do not have to do it alone. Keep a list of projects, errands, and services and put together a schedule of times when you need help. Then, the next time a family member or friend offers to help, you can give them a specific, time-limited task.



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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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