Respite care is when family, friends, volunteers, or professional caregivers stay with the person with ALS so the primary caregiver can take much-needed breaks to run errands, exercise, socialize, relax, and recharge.
Caregivers often feel guilty for taking breaks, but taking care of oneself is critical to preventing caregiver burnout and to being a better caregiver for the long run.
Our home care page provides information on coordinating respite care with family and friends and hiring paid caregivers.
Medicare will not cover respite care unless it's through hospice, though here are some ways you might be able to receive respite care at no cost:
- Ask your local ALS organization if they have a respite program or volunteers who can help.
- Talk with the social worker at your ALS clinic to find out if there is assistance available through your state or faith-based or charitable organizations.
- If you qualify for Medicaid, find out if your state's program covers long-term care services.
- If you purchased a long-term care policy before your ALS diagnosis, check your policy to find out what is covered.
- If you are a military veteran, ask the VA about your respite care benefits.