| Read Time: 4 minutes | Elder Law

Respite care is a form of temporary care that gives family members or primary caregivers a break. Respite care might be used when a primary caregiver is out of town, ill, or just needs a day to run errands. Whether you are considering respite care for yourself or a loved one, it is important to understand the type of care that you receive and how you can start planning for the cost long before it is  required.

Respite care benefits the primary caregiver just as much as the patient. It gives each party a much-needed break, and even gives the patient a new person to interact with that may bring new experiences. Respite caregivers are professionals trained in caring for those who are disabled or seniors who need help around the home. They can help with everything from daily hygiene to cleaning in the house, cooking, and even just offering companionship while the primary caregiver is occupied.

Respite care typically occurs in a hospice or other care facility, but there are services that bring respite caregivers into the patient’s home so that they don’t have to leave their comfort zone.

When individuals create a long-term care plan, they tend to forget that respite care exists. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to include the possibility of respite care in your long-term care plan and make it part of your estate plan. Doing so will ensure you have funds set aside to pay for respite care and make sure loved ones get the break they need when caring for you.

Why Is Respite Care Something You Should Plan for When Creating a Long-Term Care Plan?

Even the most patient caretaker or family member in the world needs a break. Caring for a loved one every single day can be exhausting, and sometimes you need a break. A caregiver might become ill, need to run errands, or just want a day off, and without respite care, that option may not be available to them.

If you are on the fence about planning for respite care or not, here are a few reasons to consider adding it into your estate plan:

Respite Care Provides Caregivers with a Much-Needed Break

Caregiving, in some instances, is a 24-hour job. Caregivers are at higher risk for depression and stress according to one study. To reduce instances of stress or severe depression, adding in professional assistance and intervention programs, like respite care, are a must for any caregiver situation.

Whether you have hired a caregiver or a family member is taking on that permanent role, a break is crucial not only for a caregiver’s state of mind, but for the quality of care they provide.

When a caregiver is stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed, the quality of care they give may decline.

Offering Respite Care to a Loved One May Give Them a Break They Need, Too

You may be surprised to hear that loved ones need a break from their caregiver just as much as the caregiver needs a break.

A new caregiver, even for a day, offers your loved one a new person that they can socialize with, which may help promote a better outlook and even thwart depression. Also, it can provide your loved one with a change of scenery – if they go somewhere outside of their home. They may even interact with others living in the care facility, giving them more socialization.

It Can Help You Test Out Community Living

If you and your loved one are considering moving into an assisted living facility or hospice center, respite care may be a good way to test it out. You would be able to see how they care for their residents, how your loved one feels about the facility and, therefore, be more confident in your decision.

When Paying for Respite Care, the Costs Are Surprisingly Low

You might be surprised at how affordable respite care can be. While the rates vary depending on the level of care your loved one needs, the quality of the facility, and area where you live, often the cost for one day is not much more than a hotel cost.

That said, when you need respite care for a few weeks, the cost can add up. If your loved one has special needs, the cost will also increase.

That is why having a plan in place long before long-term care is needed or respite care is a concern is best. You can set aside funds using a trust through your estate plan to make sure respite costs are covered.

How to Plan for Respite Care

Respite care is a valuable addition to long-term care, and it is definitely something you should include in your long-term care plan. When you set aside funds in a trust or other savings account to pay for your long-term care, make sure you include the costs for respite care. Whether you are having a loved one care for you or you plan to hire a caregiver, just some of the instances where you want to anticipate that extra spending includes:

  • Sick days – when you are too ill to care for your loved one or do not want to run the risk of giving them your illness.
  • Family emergencies that may take you away from your role as the primary caregiver.
  • Vacations or travel plans that require you to leave your loved one behind.
  • Running errands, visiting doctors for your appointments, and making sure that you keep up with your own health – whether it is once a week or once a month.
  • Getting a mental break so that you can relax, refocus, and feel refreshed when you come back to your role as a caregiver.

Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney Today to Explore Your Options for Long-Term Care Planning That Includes Respite Care Costs

When you create your estate plan, make sure you think about long-term care and respite care costs. An estate planning attorney will help you set aside the funds you need to care for yourself so that family members are not burdened financially.

Speak with attorney, Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., today about creating an estate plan that has long-term care in mind, or to modify your existing estate plan so that it includes respite care. Call our office to schedule a case evaluation free of charge or contact us online with your questions.

Author Photo

Andrew Lamkin is principal in the law firm of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., where he focuses his practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning and special needs planning, including Wills and Trusts, Medicaid planning, estate administration and residential real estate transactions. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.

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