The Rhode Island CareBreaks respite services program provides unpaid primary caregivers of physically disabled individuals, those with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and frail seniors a break (respite) from caring for their loved one. Being a primary caregiver can be a taxing and stressful responsibility that allows little time to care for oneself. Respite care allows the caregiver free time to use as they choose, from running errands to going to a doctor’s appointment to simply relaxing.
The CareBreaks respite services program is administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. It is funded by Rhode Island’s Office of Healthy Aging via the Older Americans Act and general revenue state funds. Both in-home and out-of-home respite care services are provided on an intermittent and regular basis.
In order to be eligible for the CareBreaks Respite Services Program, one must be a resident of Rhode Island who is caring for a disabled or elderly individual who is not institutionalized. However, the caregiver does not have to live with the care recipient.
The individual requiring care must have a functional need for daily assistance, which may include assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing/undressing, transferring from a bed to a chair, using the toilet, etc., and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), like housecleaning, preparing meals, shopping for essentials, medication management, etc. But they cannot be eligible for or receiving respite services from another state-funded program.
There is no age restriction.
There are no income or asset limits. However, there may be a cost share (co-payment) for respite care services based on a sliding scale. For seniors who require care assistance, this is based on their (and their spouse’s) income, not their caregiver’s income.
For instance, at the time of this writing (2022), a single applicant can have income up to $13,590 a year, and a married couple can have up to $18,310 a year, and not have a cost share. However, even for those who have a copay, the cost is still well below the market value for the same services without program assistance. The most an individual can make and still receive assistance is $40,770 a year and $54,930 a year for couples. The current cost share chart can be found here.
Those who have medical expenses greater than 3% of their income may be able to apply a medical expense deduction, which can effectively lower one’s income and reduce one’s share of cost for services. The following are expenses that may be deducted: medicare premiums, doctor bills, prescription drugs, hearing aids, etc. One must provide proof of these expenses.
CareBreaks provides respite care (up to $3,000 a year) to relieve an unpaid primary caregiver of their caregiving duties. Respite care can be provided in-home or out-of-home, and provides supervision and assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, mobility, and eating meals. For in-home respite care, assistance with housekeeping may also be provided.
Out-of-home respite care may include a loved one attending adult day care or staying overnight in a facility, such as a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Respite care can be provided on an intermittent or emergency basis, as well as on a regular basis.
Financial assistance from CareBreaks is not paid to program participants. Instead, CareBreaks pays the service providers and vendors directly.