Idaho Senior Services Respite Program

Page Reviewed / Updated - Mar. 2019

Program Description

The Idaho Senior Services Respite Program, which may also be called Family Care Respite, provides trained professionals that relieve a caregiver of his or her caregiving responsibilities for short periods of time. This program offers respite care, which depending on the region within the state, may be in the home, in adult day care, and in overnight residences. It is managed locally by the Area Agencies on Aging; some of which also provide transportation assistance services to help elderly care recipients, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, arrive in a respite care location.

Families have a choice of respite providers, but cannot choose to hire other family members to provide the respite care. Typically, families are given vouchers that they use to "pay" their respite caregiver. The respite caregiver then redeems the voucher with the state for payment.

It is possible to be denied services in this program due to lack of available funding or personnel. In these cases, qualified candidates can be added to a waiting list.
Eligibility Guidelines
  • Care receivers must be Idaho residents 
  • They must be a minimum of 60 years old and have a caregiver under the age of 60 or be under the age of 60 with a caregiver over the age of 60. 
  • They must need help with a minimum of one activity of daily living or instrumental activity of daily living, such as mobility, toiletry, dressing, eating, preparing meals, grocery shopping, etc. 
  • The care recipient must require 24-hour supervision and/or 24-hour care. 
  • They cannot be concurrently receiving caregiving assistance from Medicaid.
  • There are no financial limits with regards to their income or savings, but those factors might be considered when determining if a family will be required to pay for services on a sliding scale. (Not all areas of Idaho implement a sliding scale). For those that do, as a general rule of thumb, those persons whose income is less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level  (FPL) should receive services free of change. In dollar terms, in 2019, this means single applicants with income less than $1,041 per month (or annually, $12,490) may receive services at no charge. The scale may gradually increases to those whose incomes exceed approximately 180% of the FPL, and those persons may be required to pay the full cost of caregiving. In dollars, this means persons with income greater than $1,875 per month might have to pay.

Prioritization of services is based on a combination of the severity of the applicant's needs and their lack of existing support. The age and physical condition of the individual providing care may also be a prioritization factor.

Benefits and Services

Caregiver relief or respite is usually provided for short periods of time, typically around 4 hours several times a month. However, in this program, overnight respite is also available. Respite can be provided at home, in adult day care centers, or in residential care communities. Transportation to and from an adult day care center or residential care community is another benefit of this program. (Please note that some areas of Idaho only offer in-home respite care). While caregivers receive respite, care recipients also benefit through an increase in companionship and a diversity of caregivers. Personal care assistance may also be provided.

Did You Know? 25% of Idaho residents provide some form of unpaid caregiving each year. Their efforts help many aging loved ones remain living independently. 
How to Apply / Learn More

The Respite Program is managed by the Idaho Commission on Aging. It is administered locally by the state's 6 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).  AAA coverage areas and contact information is available here.