What is Respite or Short-Term stay?

Short-term stays or respite care are typically reserved for individuals during an illness or rehabilitation after a hospital visit and require supervised care while recovering. However, this is also a convenient option when planned or unplanned circumstances require you to seek temporary senior housing for a loved one. If you currently are caring for a loved one, the following examples could result in a short-term stay. Examples include:

  • You are traveling for business or vacation: Are you planning a vacation or have you been called on an emergency business trip? Trust that your loved one is receiving the care you need while you're away.
  • Your loved one needs supervised care following a hospital discharge: If your loved one has recently had a stay in the hospital but still requires supervised care while recovering.
  • You're evaluating your long-term care options: Do you thinks time to start evaluating long-term care options for a loved one? A short-term stay is a great opportunity for a trial stay.

Potential residents can find short-term stay services or respite care at assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes, where guests receive the same level of services and care as long-term residents. Services typically include:

  • Furnished apartment
  • Dining services
  • Daily care assistance
  • Medication management
  • Daily physical and social programs
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Housekeeping and laundry services

Costs for short-term stays are typically on a per day basis, ranging from $100 to $300 per day and include meals, accommodations, and care services. It’s important to note that stays are typically less than one month long and are based on facility availability. Guests who stay longer than thirty days may be subject to recurring monthly costs and move-in fees.

Because short-term stays may occur as a result of planned or unforeseen circumstances, we advise you ask the following questions when considering a facility.

  • Is there an admission criterion we need to meet?
  • What percentage of your facility is reserved for short-term or respite care guests?
  • Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid, or other forms of government assistance?
  • What level of care is included? Are additional care or service requirements an extra charge?
  • How do you determine what level of care I need?
  • Do you have a minimum and maximum stay requirement?
  • Are there penalties for staying beyond the maximum time frame?

Respite Care: Finding and Choosing Respite Services: A non-profit resource guide that includes care basics, payment options, and strategies for select respite care providers. (HelpGuide)

Respite Care Guide: A comprehensive guide to understanding, locating, and using respite care. (Alzheimer’s Association)

Elder Care Services Search: A federal government site that includes a search–by-zipcode directory of elder care services, planning resources, benefits planners, and links to state agencies. (The U.S. Department on Aging)

Benefits.gov: Respite Care Benefits Details