February 20, 2019
Actively caring for a family member who needs daily assistance can provide a number of benefits to the caregiver.
They may experience a sense of giving back to a parent or grandparent who raised them. They may feel confident that a beloved person is receiving excellent, personal care.
But caregiving can take a considerable toll – physically, mentally and financially.
That's why the Family Caregiver Alliance is quick with this reminder:
Caring for yourself is one of the most important — and one of the most often forgotten — things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too.
That's where respite services can make a difference, enabling caregivers to take a vacation, tend to an emergency or simply run errands.
Numerous nonprofits and private companies provide respite care, often in the form of adult day care programs or via in-home assistance. Additionally, caregiver support programs – including those operated by both Pennsylvania and New Jersey – offer eligible caregivers reimbursement for respite care services.
Statistics support the need for respite care – particularly among those who also hold full- or part-time jobs. And that's most caregivers.
In 2015, nearly 60 percent of caregivers were employed at some point during their caregiving, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. On average, they worked 34.7 hours each week.
Nearly half of the working caregivers felt obligated to take on the caregiving responsibilities. Still, the dual roles left 70 percent of them with work-related difficulties.
All of that work can lead to adverse side effects.
More than one-third of caregivers have skipped annual physicals or dental appointments due to the demands of caregiving, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Nearly as many have failed to fill prescriptions for themselves or visit a doctor when sick or injured.
Financially, caregivers have cut back on personal care, groceries, utilities, household renovations and education costs. Many have coped by eating more or sleeping less. But others say they exercise more, spend time outside or pray.
For caregivers seeking respite care, here are several programs and service providers that could help. The list is, by no means, exhaustive:
This program offers primary caregivers reimbursement for respite care, education, training, counseling and caregiver-associated costs and supplies. Each caregiver is assigned to a manager who will conduct a needs assessment, provide support and help them develop a care plan.
For eligibility requirements and additional information, click here.
The program is administered at the county level:
• Bucks County residents should call 267-880-5700 or click here.
• Chester County residents should call 610-344-6350 or click here.
• Delaware County residents should call 610-490-1300 or click here.
• Montgomery County residents should call 610-278-3601 or click here.
• Philadelphia residents should call 215-765-9000 or click here.
This programs allows unpaid caregivers short-term or periodic breaks to help relieve caregivers of stress. It enables caregivers to go on vacation, take time to care for themselves, respond to emergencies or run errands.
To view eligibility requirements and more information, click here.
There is a statewide respite care program in every county. To reach the program in your county, please call the Aging and Disability Resource Connection toll free line at 1-877-222-3737.
Active Day provides adult day care services to seniors with Alzheimer's Disease and adults with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities. It also offers in-home care assistance to help seniors remain settled at home when maintaining a home becomes a challenge.
The company provides services in 14 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Learn more here.
Home Helpers Home Care offers in-home caregiving services to people with a variety of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but respite services also are available.
There are more than 600 Home Helpers agencies across North America, though each is locally-owned. Learn more here.
Home Instead Senior Care provides various in-home services, including housekeeping, bathing, grooming, walking assistance, laundry and meal preparation and cleanup. It also offers respite care for caregivers.
The company has nearly 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises throughout the United States and 12 other countries, including several locations in the Philadelphia region. Learn more here.