Are there any affordable emergency respite options?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 13, 2016
Tchalaire asked...

My mother has Alzheimer's and is living in New Orleans, with my sister as the caretaker. My sister will be having surgery and will not be able to do any strenuous work for at least a month. Is there any free emergency help available since they are unable to afford any kind of nursing home services?

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Finding affordable emergency respite is, at best, dependent on where you live and, at worst, not readily available no matter where you call home. The existence of these services seems to vary state by state and change depending on what area you may live within each state. With that said, the New Orleans area of LA seems to have some choices for finding affordable care on a temporary basis for emergencies such as the one in which you find yourself. The Alzheimer's Association chapter office (504-849-9081) and the New Orleans Council on Aging (504-821-4121) may be able to guide you or your sister through this process. As always, you may want that first call-for-help to be to a House of Worship. Most have wonderful volunteers ready and willing to help out with emergency caregiving no matter what your religious affiliation may be. New Orleans has several religious organizations whose referral info you should be able to get from either of the above numbers. This appears to be a wonderful opportunity to remind all caregivers to have a "Contingency Plan" for situations like yours that arise unexpectedly. This plan should be formulated when caregiving begins and should include backup help (names and numbers) to be contacted in case of an emergency affecting the caregiver's ability to be with the 'patient'. It is never too soon to do this! Please take care of yourself no matter how 'hands-on' involved you may be at this time.