Respite services, an important component of the home and community-based long-term care service-delivery system, provide informal caregivers with a temporary break from their caregiving responsibilities and associated stresses. Caregiving is a responsibility most take on without hesitation. However, informal caregivers often face financial, physical, and emotional burdens which have an impact on their families, social lives, and careers. With the aging of the baby boomers, there will be an increasing number of older people due to the size of this cohort. As the boomers become elderly, there is an increased likelihood that they will need support in everyday living tasks. As a result, the demands placed on informal caregivers will continue and likely will increase.
Informal caregivers play a critical role in the long-term services and supports system; in fact, the system cannot function without them. Thus, it is crucial that caregivers are supported in their caregiving responsibilities. Respite services temporarily relieve caregivers of their caregiving responsibilities by providing a short-term break, allowing the caregiver to devote time to address other needs. Respite services include home care (e.g., personal care levels I & II, companionship/supervision), community-based services (e.g., social adult day services, adult day health care) and facility-based overnight care (e.g., in a nursing home, adult home). Respite services assist caregivers in maintaining their loved ones at home for as long as possible and delay or forestall nursing home placement, which often results in a much higher cost to both the family and the State Medicaid Program.
Respite services in New York State are provided through a variety of funding streams. There are 10 community-based respite programs that are included in the State Budget, for which the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) has administrative responsibility. The most recent program data for the Respite Services Program is based on SFY 2013-2014. An appropriation of $931,500 was made available for these respite programs.
In SFY 2013-2014, these programs served 1,806 caregivers and provided direct services to 602 care receivers. The following shows the units of services that were provided through the programs.
- 20,169 hours of in-home care,
- 18,624 hours of adult day care,
- 1,173 overnights of facility based care,
- 5,629 requests for information and assistance,
- 2,068 hours of case management,
- 148 support group sessions for 759 caregivers, and
- 590 individual counseling sessions for 321 caregivers
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) provide respite services throughout the state through a variety of federal and state-funded programs. Two primary programs are the New York Elder Caregiver Support Program funded under Title III-E of the Older Americans Act, and the state-funded Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP).
In SFY 2014-2015, these programs were funded at the same level as the previous fiscal year. New York Foundation received an additional line item for $86,000.