Summer vacation time is a welcomed break.  Vacation expenses for caregivers can be exceptionally high due to the costs of respite care.  Even a day-trip can become an expensive break.  Unfortunately those who need a break the most are also the least likely to take one.  Those caring for an aging relative are often unable to get away, even for a few hours.  Respite care is one way they can get that break but the cost means that it will be out of reach for some.

Options for respite care are based on the length of time the care is required for as well as the capabilities of the person requiring care.

Short Stay Respite Care

Average hourly costs:

Home Care Service Provider Care Aid Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse
$30 $35 $55 $70

The most basic service is someone who will stay in the home helping with meals, reminders to take medications or simply providing comfort that another adult is available if needed.   These workers cannot administer medication and usually cannot help with a transfer from one position (such as lying in bed) to another position (such as sitting in a wheelchair).

If transfers are required, another option is a care aid who has received training to help people transfer between bed, wheelchair and toilet.  They also can assist with bathing and other personal care duties.  They cannot administer medications but they can provide reminders and open blister pack containers.

If an individual requires more assistance with medications, there are licenced practical nurses and registered nurses who can provide assistance.  These higher skilled professionals are referred to as ‘purpose oriented’.  This means that they don’t generally provide personal care services.  Their visits have a purpose such as administering medications or changing surgical dressings.

Longer Stay and Overnight Respite Care

Over night (approximately 12 hours) Full day & night (approximately 22 hours)
$300 $340

Overnight respite care is needed for some who require assistance during the night even if the caregiver is still at home.  In order for a caregiver to get a full night’s sleep a care aid will provide about 12 hours of care through the night.  Some will require a paid caregiver 24 hours per day which is also available.  Typically the care aid will provide the majority of the care but a break is needed each day and this gap may be filled by a secondary care aid for about 2 additional hours.  Longer stay respite care is also helpful if the caregiver needs to take a trip for several days.

The Respite Vacation

Many private retirement homes offer respite care that provides full services including meals, entertainment, private rooms and private bathrooms.  The individual requiring care is on a sort of ‘staycation’ at a luxury location while the caregiver goes on their own trip.  In order to qualify for this type of respite the individual needs to be able to bear their own weight to transfer on their own.  Respite care can be provided for up to one month at a cost of approximately $200 per day.