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In-home / Out-of-home Settings

Respite care in the family home

This can be an informal arrangement with a friend, relative or neighbor to come over while you take a break or do other things that are difficult without care for your family member. It can also be a formal arrangement for an individual provider through a respite care referral service or personal care services agency.


Respite care outside the family home

There are different ways that respite care can take place outside the home; some of which may be available in your community. While some options are only for the care receivers, some do allow caregivers to be there at the same time - which provides a good opportunity for families to network and support each other. Options can include:

helping a woman
  • Care in the respite provider's home: This can be arranged with a friend, neighbor, or relative of the families. There may also be referral services or directories to help families locate providers.

  • A respite center or day center: A place where planned activities for the day are appropriate for either children or adults. An example of a place could be a local Arc, or a memory care community center at a licensed facility such as an assisted living facility, or an adult day service center. Staff is generally trained to provide direct care and supervision.

  • After-school, weekend evening "parent night out," "recreation & respite," or special holiday activities: These activities can be called by different names, and are offered through various community programs or churches for families raising children with special needs.

  • A summer camp: This is an expensive option for both children and adults; application and financial arrangements often need to start early in the year.

  • A "respitality" program: This is an opportunity for parents to spend time at paid hotel rooms by themselves, or with other parents for networking opportunities. Arrangements can also include the children with disabilities for a day. Contact support service programs such as United Cerebral Palsy and Alzheimer's Association for possible financial support.

  • A family co-op, barter or exchange system: This usually involves co-op families to trade hours to care for each other's children.

  • A companionship program: This can be arranged with a friend or neighbor of the families. Formal arrangements can also be made through various community programs such as the Arc, Alzheimer's Association, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), or Oregon Mentors.

  • Crisis or emergency respite care: Contact community agencies to ask about their possible services before a crisis - i.e., illness or emergency hospitalization of a caregiving spouse; death in the family, requiring you to attend a memorial service. There may also be referral services or directories to help families locate providers.

  • A group home, foster home, residential and assisted living facility, nursing facility, or hospital: For adults, contact your county Seniors and People with Disabilities or Area Agency on Aging office to inquire about possible short-term care at a state licensed home or facility. For children, contact your local county's developmental disabilities office.


Some considerations for respite care in your own home



  • Familiarity: the person receiving care may be more comfortable with familiar settings and routines.
  • Convenience: all necessary equipment, toys, medications and other important items are there and set up.
  • Training: your own home may be the best training site for a new provider.


  • Time to yourself at home: respite may be a rare chance to have the house to yourself.
  • Comfort level: you may not like to have someone in the home while you are away.

Some considerations for a facility type of setting


This website can help you choose a facility such as a foster home, an adult day center, a residential or assisted living facility. The Guide to Oregon Foster Homes has some questions and checklists for some criteria to consider when choosing this type of facility.


The asking the right questions guide may provide some additional questions to add to your own checklist. The Nursing Home Compare guide provides quality ratings and other tips when choosing a nursing home anywhere in the United States.