Respite Care Part IV: How to Find and Fund the Right Respite Care Programs

There’s no doubt that while caring for a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I.D.D.) brings joy, it also brings challenges. Caregiving is an important role with heavy responsibilities. Unfortunately, by caring so intensely for others, caregivers are often at higher risk of emotional, mental, and physical problems such as anxiety, heart disease, insomnia, and other stress-related illnesses.

Thankfully, there are respite care programs. Respite Care is a temporary care program for individuals with disabilities. Temporary meaning care can last for a couple of hours to several days. Its benefits are numerous for clients, caregivers, and the community. To learn more about the positive impacts of respite care programs, we invite you to check out the earlier articles in this series:

Respite Care: Mental, Physical, and Emotional Benefits for Caregivers
Respite Care: Mental, Physical, and Emotional Benefits for Clients
Respite Care: How the Community Benefits

The life-enriching qualities of respite care facilities are known, and yet, there are many people not participating in this important program. In fact, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 1 in 5 Americans are providing unpaid care for a loved one with health or functional needs. That’s 53 million adults – a number that has increased by 9.5 million since 2015. The study also reveals that family caregivers are in worse health than they were five years ago.

Why doesn’t everyone take advantage of respite care? The reality is that there are a lot of factors that go into someone’s decision of whether or not to participate in respite services. However, one of the most common responses is that people often do not know where to start or how to pay for it.

In this article, we will explore 5 resources that assist caregivers in finding and funding the right respite provider.

The Cost of Caregiving

What was once more often than not a woman in her forties or fifties, the profile of a caregiver has become as diverse as the American population. It is now a nearly 40/60 split (39% men, 61% women) and includes younger “millennial” caregivers. Of the 53 million adults who provide care for a loved one, 61% of them work in addition to caregiving.

Caregiving can be costly. In fact, family caregivers invest upwards of $7,000 annually to care for their loved ones. Luckily, whether you’re considering out-of-home or in-home care, there are resources that can help connect you with the right respite care providers and financial aid.

Caregiving Resources

      1. National Respite Network 
        The National Respite Network is a comprehensive online database of information, resources, and referrals to assist caregivers with finding and funding respite care programs in their areas.
      2. Caregiver Lifespan Respite Program
        This respite care program uses an online database to link families and primary caregivers of children and adults with disabilities with respite care providers. If your state has a Lifespan program, call and ask for information on financial aid. Most children with special needs qualify for home and community-based respite care covered by Medicaid waivers. Many respite care programs have waiting lists for the waivers, so it’s important to apply early.
      3. Family Voices 
        Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F.2.F.) are family-led centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (H.R.S.A.). There is one F.2.F. in each state, in the District of Columbia, in five U.S. territories, as well as three F.2.F.s serving tribal communities. F.2.F.s have a deep understanding of caring for children with complex needs and connect families with provider referrals, financial aid, community support programs, and more.
      4. Child Care Aware of America 
        Child Care Aware of America works with more than 400 state and local childcare resource and referral agencies to help connect families with affordable care solutions. Their mission is to support children’s growth, development, and educational advancement in a way that creates a positive economic impact on families and communities. Members of the military may receive additional support.
      5. Wisconsin Family Caregiver Support Programs 
        The Wisconsin Family Caregiver Support Programs are located in every county and tribe in the state. They support families who care for a loved one who is 60 or older, or a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder regardless of age. In addition, this program also assists caregivers 55+ who care for children under the age of 19, or who care for a loved one with a disability who is 19-59 years of age.

In addition to the above programs, advocacy work is underway to make respite care more accessible to families. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, signed into law in January 2018, will create a national strategy for supporting caregivers.

Covey’s Respite Care Programs

Caregiving is no easy task. It’s a long-term commitment that, although rewarding, can be draining. That’s why finding a respite provider you can count on is invaluable. The gift of peace of mind that your loved one is taken care of while you run errands, go to an appointment, or simply take some time to yourself will work wonders for your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Covey now has two respite care facilities in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley: Oshkosh and Appleton. We provide individualized care to every person through skill-building, social development, and life enrichment activities. To learn more about Covey’s respite care programs, connect with us at