Respite care for your loved ones

As a family caregiver, there will be times when the stress of life becomes overwhelming. You are working a full-time job, taking care of your own children, and then you are also the caretaker of an aging parent or relative. You might even feel like you are being pulled in a thousand different directions, but you aren’t alone.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 34.2 million Americans provide or have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last year. The organization also states that most family caregivers provide more than 24.4 hours a week giving care and 1 in 4 spends 41 hours or more each week providing care.

What is respite care? Respite care can provide short-term relief for primary caregivers. This can be done in different time increments varying from an afternoon to a few days to a few weeks. Respite care can be provided at home, in a healt care facility, or an adult day care.

Respite care is typically not covered by insurance. It is charged by the number of hours, days, or weeks needed. Medicare will cover most of the cost of up to 5 days in a row of respite care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility for a person receiving hospice care. Medicaid also may offer assistance. 

It can be a hard thing to decide on and ultimately you must choose what is best for your family. There are many resources out there and many options.

Asking for help can be difficult, and the difficulty can be compounded when choosing a substitute care provider for your loved one. Determine if respite care is necessary by asking yourself the following:

Is there someone you trust to take care of your loved one in case of an emergency?

Have you missed a personal doctor’s visit or neglected to fulfill your own health-related needs?

Do you find yourself making excuses to miss previously important social events?

If these questions were tough to answer, it may be time to consider a break! 

PUNS (Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services) IL residents only

What is PUNS??

P.U.N.S (Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services)

is a database of Illinois infants, children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities who have needs for developmental disability services or support. The PUNS database helps us identify and plan for your immediate needs.

How do I sign-up for placement in the PUNS database? Visit HERE

Individuals, along with their primary caregiver and/or guardian, must meet face-to-face with a pre-admission screener at their local coordination agency to fill out an Illinois PUNS registration form. Please note that LOCAL reflects the COUNTY in which you reside.

The individual must provide information on their medical condition, living arrangement, and need for new, additional, or different services. This will allow the pre-admission screener, on behalf of the State, to determine whether the person’s needs are fully served, and if not, to categorize the need for developmental disabilities services. Your information will then be entered into the PUNS database.

You can also call the Developmental Disabilities Hotline at 1-888-DD-PLANS and 1-866-376-8446 (TTY) to assist you with the process.

Note: Completion of a PUNS form does not guarantee eligibility for services or the provision of services, but it does make sure that the State is aware of individual need for services.

What assistance can I receive if I sign up for PUNS?

  • In-home Supports
  • Respite Care … see our site to learn more about the different types offered.
  • Job Coaches
  • Residential Living Arrangements
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Other Supports

Even though resources are limited, the State works hard to make sure services are allocated as fairly and efficiently as possible, and they are continuously looking for new ways to increase access to assistance for those who are in need.

How do I find an Independent Service Coordination Agency in my area?

To find an Independent Service Coordination Agency in your area you can call the Division of Developmental Disabilities Hotline at 1-888-DD-PLANS and 1-866-376-8446 (TTY)

Please also feel free to reach out to Stephanie Thompson with the Special Needs Mom Squad by emailing us at