What is respite care?

The term respite care means care that gives the regular caregiver some time off. Respite care gives family caregivers a much-needed break. In the process, respite care reduces caregiver stress. Respite care may be provided by:

  • Home health care workers

  • Adult day-care centers

  • Short-term nursing homes

  • Assisted living homes

Respite care is essential to family caregivers. Studies show that respite care helps caregivers keep their loved ones at home for longer periods of time.

What is the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)?

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) is a federally-funded program through the Older Americans Act. The NFCSP helps states provide services that assist family caregivers. To be eligible for the NFCS, caregivers must:

  • Care for adults aged 60 years and older, or

  • Be grandparents or relatives caring for a child under the age of 18.

Each state offers different amounts and types of services. These include:

  • Information about available services

  • Help accessing support services

  • Individual counseling and organization of support groups

  • Caregiver training

  • Respite care

  • Limited supplemental services to complement the care provided by caregivers.

How can I find out about caregiving resources in my community?

A number of resources can help direct you to the caregiver services you need. These agencies will be able to tell you:

  • What kind of services are available in your community

  • If these services are right for you

  • If you are eligible for these services

  • Whom to contact and hours of operation

People who need help caring for an older person should contact their local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). AAAs are usually listed in the government sections of the telephone directory under "Aging" or "Social Services." A listing of state and area agencies on aging is also available online at: The National Eldercare Locator, a toll-free service of the Administration on Aging, is another good resource. They can be reached by telephone at 1-800-677-1116 or online at The Eldercare Locator can help find your local or state AAA. Operators are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. When contacting the Eldercare Locator, callers should have the address, zip code, and county of residence for the person needing assistance.

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