Family caregivers have options for respite


After a year of writing a column called “Living Well,”  Erin Minior or Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island, and Susan Bazar of Jewish Seniors Agency are introducing a new question-and-answer format to the  column. Each month, they will respond to one or two questions relevant to social and senior services. Submit questions via email to sbazar@

I have been my husband’s primary caregiver for years.  My granddaughter is making her Bat Mitzvah this spring out of state. Travel for my husband at this juncture is not an option.  I would very much like to go but am uncomfortable entrusting his care to other family members/friends for more than a couple of hours. Do you have advice.

Family caregivers need respite from caring for their loved ones.  In order to be the best version of themselves and provide essential care, it is important they eat, sleep and make self-care a priority.

There are a variety of caregiver support groups that meet regularly. With a facilitator, participants share stories and resources. 

In addition, some assisted living residences offer respite care.  Respite is defined as a reprieve for the caregiver. The Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residences offer respite services where guests can stay and be cared for in a safe, caring environment while caregivers travel, celebrate grandchildren’s birthdays, etc. Respite care is an underutilized resource worthy of strong consideration.

Adult day services also provide a break for caregivers.  Celebrations Adult Day Services at Tamarisk is an adult day program that operates 24/7.  Periodically or routinely, care is provided for guests by day (or evening) where a state of the art supportive environment and life enriching activities are offered.  Adult day services allow loved ones to maintain their work/life balance and provide peace of mind. While this may not be a viable option in cases where caregivers travel overnight, it may be suitable in cases of day travel. 

Home health agencies, such as Home Care Solutions, are another resource.  Once staffing needs are determined, 24/7 care or partial care can be coordinated.  The advantage of using an agency, as opposed to family/neighbor or a friend is that there are built in coverage redundancies.  If your family member commits but then cancels, you can keep your plans. 

We hope you will have an opportunity to attend your granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah. These family celebrations are remarkable.

ERIN MINIOR is the CEO of Jewish Family Service. SUSAN BAZAR is executive director of the Jewish Seniors Agency.