Family caregivers play a critical role in the long-term services and supports system; in fact, the system cannot function without them. Caring for a loved one is a responsibility most take on without hesitation. However, family caregivers often face financial, physical, and emotional burdens that have an impact on their families, social lives, and careers. Thus, it is crucial that caregivers are supported in their caregiving responsibilities. Respite care services are services that offer temporary, substitute supports or living arrangements for care recipients in order to provide a brief period of relief or rest for caregivers. Respite services include:

  • In-home Respite: A respite service provided in the home of the caregiver or care receiver and allows the caregiver time away to do other activities. During such respite, other activities can occur, which may offer additional support to either the caregiver or care receiver.
  • Out-of-Home Respite: A respite service provided in settings other than the caregiver/care receiver’s home, including adult day care, senior center, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, family type homes, and/or summer camps, which allows the caregiver time away to do other activities.

Respite services assist caregivers in helping their loved ones remain at home for as long as possible and delay or prevent nursing home placement, which often results in a much higher cost to both the family and the State Medicaid Program.

Funding for Respite Services
Respite services in New York State are provided through a variety of funding streams. There are 10 community-based respite programs (State Respite) that are included in the State Budget, for which the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) has administrative responsibility.

Click here for more information about the organizations that receive State Respite funds and the counties served.

Additionally, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) provide respite services across the state through a variety of federal and state-funded programs. Two primary programs are the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) funded under Title III-E of the Older Americans Act, and the state-funded Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP).


1) State Respite Program

To be eligible for the Respite Program a person must be caregiver. This is a person who is either a family member or other non-paid person who generally provides the care to or supervision of an adult who is frail and/or has disabilities. The caregiver may or may not reside in the same household as the care receiver. The care receiver is an adult who is unable to attend to his or her daily needs without the assistance or regular supervision of a caregiver due to mental or physical impairment and who is otherwise eligible for services on the basis of his or her impairment. Priority is given to adults who are frail and/or have disabilities who are 60 years of age or older.

2) National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)

Respite is one of the supports offered through the NFCSP. Individuals eligible for respite care under this program are:

  • Family caregivers providing care for individuals age 60 or older; or
  • Family caregivers providing care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, regardless of age; or
  • Grandparents and other relative caregivers (not parents) 55 years of age and older providing care to children under age 18; or
  • Grandparents, parents, and other relative caregivers 55 years of age and older providing care to adults ages 18-59, with disabilities, to whom they are related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

3) Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP)

Respite is one of the supports offered through the EISEP Program. In order to be eligible, an individual must:

  • be at least 60 years of age or older
  • be functionally impaired, as shown by a need for the assistance of another person in at least one ADL or two IADLs
  • have unmet needs for this assistance
  • not be eligible to receive the same or similar services under other similar government programs
  • apply for Medicaid if it appears that they are eligible
  • be able to be maintained safely in their home environment
  • For noninstitutional respite
    • the individual must have one or more informal caregivers who provide continuing care
  • For consumer-directed in-home services, the individual must meet all of the above and:
    • be capable of making choices regarding their activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living and the type, quality and management of their in-home services worker; understand the impact of these choices; and assume responsibility for the results of these choices; or
    • be capable of delegating authority to another who is capable of carrying out the activities
    • if not capable, then has someone who meets the qualifications of a consumer representative

There are a variety of other programs throughout NYS that provide respite care that are not administered through NYSOFA. For more information, call NY Connects at 1-800-342-9871 or visit the NY Connects Resource Directory.

Learn More

To learn more, visit NY Connects or call 1-800-342-9871.