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Respite Care For Seniors

If you are a caregiver, you know how demanding and time consuming caregiving can be. As a health advocate, I interact with caregivers on a daily basis, and I can always tell when they are on the verge of burning out. I cannot stress how important it is for caregivers to care for themselves. Of course, looking after a loved one is rewarding, but it can take its toll. I always say, look after yourself so you can look after your loved one. Consider respite care when you need a break. The person you care for can receive care:

  • at home

  • during a short stay at a long-term care home

  • at an adult day program

If you are considering respite care, asking the following questions will help you create a respite care plan:

  • How long do you need care for?

  • Are you comfortable having a provider come to your home?

  • How much can you afford to pay?

  • Will you need help on a regular basis?

  • Do you need additional services, such as housekeeping or medical care?

  • Does the care receiver have mobility challenges?

  • Will the respite provider need to drive him or her?

  • Does your loved one need more social contact?

  • Is he or she getting enough physical exercise?

When I ask caregivers why they haven't considered respite care, they almost always say that it makes them feel guilty. Financial implications are a close second. But did you know that your loved one could qualify for free respite care?

If your loved one resides in Ontario and has a valid OHIP card, you can apply for respite care through Home and Community Care Support Services organizations. Find your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization by:

Once you connect with your local Home and Community Care Support Services organization, a representative will:

  • go over all the qualifications with you to ensure eligibility

  • arrange any necessary assessments of the person you care for. e.g. assessment needed for personal support services

  • help you complete any necessary application. e.g. applications needed for short stays in long-term care homes

  • schedule the service(s) (e.g. dates and times, entry into home, transportation) if you are approved for respite care

Respite care has many benefits for caregivers and their loved ones. With a bit of research and planning, you can create a respite care strategy that works for both you and your loved one. If you need help accessing respite care services or have related questions, we at in4MED, can help by connecting you to local healthcare providers and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.


Healthcare Consultant, in4MED


Family support and respite for children and youth with special needs:

The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.

*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.

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