Page Reviewed / Updated – Nov. 16, 2022

Program Description

The Maine Caregiver Respite Program is a program for state residents acting as full time caregivers to elderly individuals who have been diagnosed with dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, or Parkinson’s disease. This program offers caregivers a break from the stresses of caregiving responsibilities, and provides options of short term care of care recipients in the home, as well as outside of the home.

Services include adult daycare, in home aides, and short-term overnight care, such as nursing home care. Caregivers are able to choose the respite caregivers and even family members of care recipients are eligible to be paid respite care providers. This program also provides an emotional outlet for stresses and concerns of caregivers, such as support groups and activities, as well as provides valuable information about dementia, hospice care, etc.

This program is funded by the state of Maine’s Office of Aging and Disability Services and is administered by the five Area Agencies on Aging, also referred to as Aging and Disability Resource Centers. Services and eligibility requirements may vary slightly based on the area agency.

Eligibility Guidelines

Individual Eligibility Guidelines:

  • Must be a resident of Maine
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must not reside in a nursing home, hospital, or facility providing residential care
  • Must have a written statement from a physician indicating a diagnosis of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • The care recipient must not have liquid assets greater than $50,000 and married couples must not have more than $75,000 in liquid assets. Liquid assets include cash, savings/checking accounts, stocks, savings bonds, certificates of deposit, and items that are easily sold for cash.

In order to be eligible for the Maine Caregiver Respite Program, applicants must not be eligible or be enrolled in any other programs that are supported by the state of Maine. 

Benefits and Services

As of 2022, eligible applicants may be reimbursed 80% of the fees up to an annual cap of $3,800 associated with having an in home respite caregiver or sending the care recipient to adult day care. (This allows a caregiver to come to the home several hours per week or for a care recipient to go to adult day care several hours a week).

If the applicant cannot afford to pay the 20% co-payment and their liquid assets are under $15,000 and their income is less than 200% of federal poverty level, some or all of the co-payment may be waived. In 2022, 200% of the federal poverty level for single and married persons respectively is $27,180 and $36,620 in income per year, or $2,265 / month and $3,052 / month.

Assistance with the fees for overnight respite care in a facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living residence, may also be covered. Make note, overnight respite care is limited to two weeks annually.

Modifications to the home in order for the care recipient to gain more independence may also be covered, and has a lifetime cap of $2,000. A program coordinator must first approve home modifications, which may include the installation of a ramp, widening of doorways for wheelchair access, or adding door alarms.

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How to Apply / Learn More

For more information about the Maine Caregiver Respite Program, click here, or to apply, reach out to the Area Agency on Aging closest to you. To find out which agency serves you, call 877-353-3771 or click here.

Wait lists for the Maine Caregiver Respite Program are common.

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