Respite Care

Respite is a short period or rest from something difficult, exhausting or all-consuming. A break, pause, recess, intermission or timeout. Respite care provides a temporary break for caregivers of children and/or adults with special health care needs or disabilities.

The Purpose of Respite

The primary purpose of respite care is to relieve caregiver stress. Stress can cause fatigue, depression and feelings of resentment, frustration, anxiety, hopelessness and guilt. It can result in health problems such as ulcers, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, weight gain and breathing difficulties. A break away from the routine and responsibilities of caring for others allows the caregiver to refresh and rejuvenate.

The length of respite care can be anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. It may be needed on a regular basis or only for emergencies, vacations or weekends. It may be provided in the family home, a caregivers home or a respite center.


Who Pays for Respite?

The cost of respite will depend on if you go through an agency or work directly with a provider. It may also depend on your income, family size, and the level of care your child needs.

Where to Find Respite?

Respite care for young children can often be found in many of the natural places that childcare is found in the community. Your friends, relatives, neighbors, church members and school staff may be willing to help you out while you run errands, go for a walk, enjoy an evening out or even go on a vacation. A neighborhood teenage babysitter may even be appropriate for short periods of time. For information on respite care, contact your regional human service center: