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Where to Find Respite: Resources for Caregivers


Respite has become my main focus in recent months. I've been caregiving/living with my mom for 3 years. I have no backup and I am more than frustrated with the well-meaning advice I get about finding a person, the acknowledgment that it's hard and there aren't enough resources. Access to respite shouldn't depend on where you live either. It's time for new resources, new ideas, real solutions...I am certain that not all resources have been tapped and not all providers even "know" that they are missing a huge market. Also, caregivers need to band together and come up with workable solutions. Some days it feels like this is a "sentence". That is no way for a caregiver to feel - like they have no way to escape. It's not fair to the care recipient or caregiver. It's time for a new kind of hope and change!

Caring for a parent in your home is a full time job, that relatives who are not doing often do not appreciate. This article has many good ideas. I would like to add that a caretaker should learn how to meditate. Give our self 20 minutes of inner quiet every day. It will make a big difference over the long term. There are lots of instruction resources online or in your community.

Caring for an older adult can be as challenging as it is rewarding. In many cases, the family is the primary source of support for an older adult who is no longer able to care for him or herself alone. The responsibility can be demanding, not only on the family member's time, but also on personal energy, resources and health.

I think this is 100% true. My mother is caring for my grandfather and she is going crazy. This past weekend, my husband and I surprised her with a visit and she began to cry. My grandfather is not going to agree to go an Adult Day Program to give her a break, so I am looking for help that will go to their house so that she can leave for a little while. She has no help and he is not friendly. I try to help, but they live in Chicago and I live in Indiana. I am also working and in school. I am trying to find a way to help her because I am afraid I am going to lose her. If anyone knows of any programs that will go to their home, please post a comment so that I can tell her. Best Wishes to All!

What are you asking, cjsnyder?

how do I apply?

How can I find an assistant person to help me at homr with my Grandmom I know not can

Thanks, Tim,
You are quite correct. I remember the IRS auditing a business client of mine a number of years ago and deciding--even though the owner cut down trees and had them transported to his little sawmill to cut up into raw uncut lumber (no way he had the equipment to do 'finished' lumber) for sale on the wholesale lumber market--that he was in fact a retail lumberyard. The IRS can whatever it wants, whenever it wants and to whomever it wants as the proverbial 800-pound gorilla.

What I was suggesting is a work-around--legally--to avoid families having to pay caregivers' FICA, etc. (Officially the IRS will classify ALL caregivers, even baby sitters as employees.) Although I am a personal friend of the trust officer involved here, I am not privvy to the details of this case. When 'caregivers' --both independent and agency-- rank third and fourth in the '5 Largest Areas for Fraud Perpetrators (behind the categories of 'Professional' in first place and 'Family') according to the largest study of its kind 2009 and updated 2011, I'm for giving families a break wherever possible. But one needs '...the services of a competent professional...' (as the disclaimer states) who is able to think outside the box strategically and do it according to the law.

I remember suddenly coming to my own shortcomings and the myopic discipline shortcomings of others about 30 years ago when working with an attorney and CPA on a turn-around project. As a marketer, I looked at the business as a marketing problem--all we need is more sales. The accountant looked at it as an accounting problem--you are shooting yourself in the foot tax-wise by not putting your numbers in the right buckets. And the legal beagle looked at the business as a 'legal mess'--because your vendor and supplier agreements are virtual holes for your finances. Even though we were on the same team and supposed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the business, we each had our own little presentations to the board in a look-at-how-smart-I-am competing kind of way. Sure it was subtle, but we all knew 'it' was there.

Once the three of us had our private off-site 'get serious' meeting and realized how we must sound to the owner, the business returned to very robust health--because we all had very cogent points that simply needed to be congruent. But we weren't working together and once we started flying in formation in congruency, the business blew the doors off of its market.

I think of all the hundreds of estate planners I have met over the years, virtually all of them were fiercely loyal to their clients. And virtually all of them were possessing of good hearts. Yet probably about 80%+ of them viewed 'working with clients' the same way--as far as I could tell--in a cookie-cutter fashion. Of course that is due to the laws, SEC and fiduciary responsibility they have, but what I saw was/is still a herd mentality. We all get in that rut, believe me.

However, Tim, I am sure you are in the 20% category for your clients and I applaud you. I have a friend of mine, now in our Maryland House of Delegates, who has a very successful business and once a year gathers all his advisors together. He buys them lunch, pays them for their time for the 2-3 hours and during and after lunch he has his investment people/person, his insurance people, his accountant and lawyer there to each give a little talk on what they were each doing in their role in his business. It is now a business that grows even with an absentee owner who must spend more of his time at our Maryland Assembly in Annapolis each year. I keep wondering why some marketing guy doesn't find a way to bundle a package like that of local professional service marketers!

So again, you are so correct. The IRS probably WOULD have classified the cargivers as employees under normal circumstances without someone who would fight for/with them. But my trust officer friend has been doing this for 38 years and has it down to a science...even chatted with IRS' supervisory folks about it. But even he advised me against trying to bundle that in some way to take to the world as any good marketing guy would want to. "People will screw it up," he said, "no matter how connect-the-dots you make it." And he's no-doubt correct--and maybe was subtly talking about me screwing it up!

Thanks again for your response! Really appreciate your site.

Re " the trust officer set up payment out of the elder's account. He simply 'gifted' (per IRS pub #950) each of the caregivers the money that happened to coincide with their hours. Ingenious idea."

A gift is different from a payment for services rendered. Based on what you describe, I would be concerned that if the trust is audited the IRS might decide that this was a mis-classification of what should have been classified as wage payments.


Thanks, Tim Colling,
Really appreciated your website...I know this is a LONG time between posts, but I wanted to respond to your answer as to 'you are the employer' for your cargiver.
Having care for several 'dads' of friends and being part of caregiving teams was the neat way, in one of the situations, the trust officer set up payment out of the elder's account. He simply 'gifted' (per IRS pub #950) each of the caregivers the money that happened to coincide with their hours. Ingenious idea.

The Lord led me in a different way as to working with elders in making them aware of elder fraud and elder financial exploitation (two different crimes). I didn't even know what elder fraud was three years ago and my wife and I buried all four of our parents and settled estates with siblings--and all went smoothly. It wasn't until I read a story in the Washington Post about a lady that was defrauded of over $400,000 in her nest egg and did not have enough money to bury her husband that something inside me 'snapped' and I knew I had to do something. The article had the phrase 'elder fraud'. I Googled it and the rest is history.