Respite care option #2: Companion care
How it helps: An elder companion can prepare meals, do light housekeeping, help with laundry, shop for groceries, run errands -- and, most important, offer companionship to the person you care for when you can't be there.
What it costs: Companion care can range from free services provided by local volunteers to $10 or more per hour for help arranged through an in-home care agency, depending on the type of care needed and the time of day. Medicaid or Medi-Cal may help pay some of the costs of care from a licensed provider for those who have low incomes and few assets.
How to get started: From local sources to national groups and organizations, there are many sources for companion care.
Word-of-mouth referrals. If you know of a neighbor, friend, or family member who's been able to find a good match for companionship needs, ask how -- and whether he or she might be able to recommend others for the position.
In-home care agencies. Start your search by using Caring.com's In-Home Care Directory to find an agency near your loved one -- and to see ratings and reviews.
Meals on Wheels. In addition to providing the hallmark service they're known best for -- deliveries of meals to the homes of older adults and others with mobility limitations -- many local Meals on Wheels programs provide outreach services, including a Friendly Visitor Program that pairs a volunteer with a neighboring senior. Begin your search for local help at the Meals on Wheels website.
The Area Agency on Aging. Trained staff at your local Area Agency on Aging can usually provide referrals for local help.
Local newspapers. Try placing an ad briefly describing your needs in a local or community newspaper.
Local high school students. Contact area high school counselors. College-bound students often need community service experience and are available afternoons and evenings.