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Hi Robbin,

The articles on this site, including the one that Lindsey included a link to have valuable information. The other suggestion about contacting local your local aging agency is also a great way to start. I am going to answer your question as a caregiver who was extremely lucky to be given a respite award after being the sole caregiver for my mom for 6 years.

To qualify for a respite award means that you must investigate and sign up with the agencies that do have some Respite funding to pass out. An example is Alzheimer's Association. Once you are on a list, there is no guarantee that you will get it - you must wait, and eventually they will contact you when they have funds to grant. The lines are usually long, and the amounts are not huge. You should sign up though and not be discouraged.

Some agencies have emergency respite - this is for exceptional cases and usually goes through your city or county aid programs.
Remember that their definition of an emergency may not be the same as a burned out caregiver's. Find out about the criteria and how to get your name on a list *before* you ever have an emergency.

Remember to be kind and respectful of those who run the programs. As budgets are cut in these tough economic times, these professionals are in the sad position of having to say "no" while watching funding and sometimes their own jobs evaporate. Many of them are also caregivers for their own family members and do understand - they may be able to give you ideas or resources even if they cannot help you directly.

If you have enough money available, you may pay for your own respite - or ask family or if appropriate (and they are competant) your parent that you are caring for. At that point the question about respite is how do I find someone to come in as a caregiver to give me a break, or where will my mom stay while I have a break? (note: most breaks are one or two days - and not always an overnighter).

Again, the question you need to ask is do I use an agency? Is there a setting that my mom would feel comfortable going to? Will you spend your whole day-off checking in by phone? Planning is essential for both your mom & you. Lots of resources on this site about respite providers.

Last, but not least --- now that I have respite what do I do with it??? You may find that you are actually at a loss figuring out what to do. Do something just for you - try not to do errands. One form of respite that is rarely mentioned is to try taking a class - not only will you be out of your caregiving element, but you will be in an entirely different element that will stretch your mind and creativity....and meet new people. A trip to the hairdresser might be nice, but feeling like you are back in the world is priceless.

I hope that this helped - if I misunderstood what you were asking, please post again with specifics. Everyone who posts on this board is here for the same reason, to help others the same way we want to be helped.
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Check with your local Area Agency on Aging. We got approved for 3 free days of Adult daycare for my mother-in-law who lives with us. They have all kinds of help for caregivers and elders.
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You can read articles and find information from AgingCare experts by visiting this section of the site:

AgingCare also has a local directory of senior care providers, including Adult Day Care (a form of respite). Visit the the "Find Care" section of the site by clicking the link below, and follow the steps to find Adult Day Care in your area. Let me know if I can help you further!

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