Most elderly members of society prefer to live independently in their own homes. Sometimes, though, it simply becomes too much for them to manage tasks alone. They can lose the ability to be independent through aging, after an accident, or even after a surgical procedure. When they need assistance, the doctor might recommend homecare.

Home care agencies offer a variety of services to help make life easier. Services range from non-medical care to medically necessary home health care. Without the support of these professionals, family caregivers would be responsible for meeting all of the patient’s needs at home. Even with the aid of professionals, caregivers sometimes need additional assistance in the form of respite care.

What Is Respite Care?

Even under the best circumstances, caring for an aging family member can be exhausting. That’s why some health care services have extended their offerings to include respite care. Having someone assume the responsibility of elder care even for a short time allows the primary caregiver to avoid burnout.

Respite care can be provided for a short time period, like a few hours, or it could be used for days or weeks. The length of respite depends on the needs of the caregiver and the needs of the patient.  Some home care agencies provide respite at the patient’s home while others recommend a facility that will provide care.

When Is Respite Care Needed?

In a temporary home care situation, it is unlikely respite care will be required.  However, as days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the need for respite care becomes an ever-increasing probability. Primary caregivers set aside things from their own lives to provide care for their family member. Sometimes, those things need attention.

Reasons for necessary respite care vary with each case. The caregiver could be inching toward burnout. Issues with other family members or work responsibilities could necessitate a break from the role of caregiver. An illness could also lead to the need for a respite care professional, particularly if the primary caregiver is the only family member involved in patient care.


Sometimes, even the most dedicated caregiver needs a break. Responsibilities become overwhelming. When caring for a family member becomes too much, the caregiver can request respite care.

Some home care agencies now offer respite for caregivers. Respite can happen in the home or in a facility depending on the patient’s care needs.