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Ř      The S.C. Respite Coalition brings people together to develop a coordinated system to address respite needs, regardless of the age of the care recipient.  Thirty states now have such coalitions. 

Ř      Lifespan Respite is a coordinated system of accessible, community-based respite services for caregivers and individuals regardless of age, race, ethnicity, special need or situation.

Ř     Ř  The S.C. Respite Coalition inventories existing respite resources in S.C. to share widely. Our knowledge about the scope of the unmet need for across-lifespan respite services is increasing.  Respite resource information is at http://scaccesshelp.org, www.bestgeriatrics.com,  or www.archrespite.org.

Ř      A major barrier to respite care is the lack of qualified and trained providers. We need consistent, professionally taught training classes for respite care providers in all parts of the state.   

Ř      Respite care has been the need most frequently identified by families of children with special health care needs.  (Plauche Johnson, et al, 2005; Congressman George Miller, 1994; Family Connection of S.C., 1997-2005; Continuum of Care,1999-2005, Federation of Families, 2003)

Ř      As little as 4 hours of respite per week has been shown to make significant differences in caregiver lives.  At $10/hour, this can be as little as $2,080 a year.

Ř      Without respite there is greater likelihood of abuse.  A 2001 study conducted in 17 U.S. areas: 11% of caregivers stated they might have abused their child had they not received respite services. Ninety-one percent report experiencing less stress now they have respite services  (9/2001, ARCH Network news.)

Ř      Without respite, caregivers burn out and institutionalization may occur. Nursing Home or residential cost is about $50,000 a year, along with deep personal toll to both care receiver and caregiver.

Ř      The 2000 needs assessment identified 270,000 children (1 in 4) in S.C. with one or more diagnosed special needs.  Many require care 24 hours/7 days a week with no breaks.  

Ř      Ř      Annually S.C. spends $40 million state dollars for out of home placements for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance.  (Continuum of Care.)  There is almost no preventive respite in mental health in S.C., however the OASIS program at SC Dept. Mental Health plans to create some.

Ř      Ř      One in 4 households cares for someone 50+ (S.C. Olmstead Report, 8/01, National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, 2005.)

Ř      Family Caregivers provide an average of care 21 hours/wk; 17% give 40+ hours of care. (Nat’l Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, 2005)               

Ř       Of the 62,345 persons in SC with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, more than 73 percent do not receive supportive services for the family (1998).  Because Alzheimer’s patients are often cared for by someone who is elderly, there may be additional complications such as lack of transportation, health conditions (1999, Center for Family, USC), isolation, modest education, lack of awareness of resources and hesitation to ask for them.   

Ř      Of family caregivers who help someone between 18-49, 23% say the care receiver’s main problem is mental illness or depression (Nat’l Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, 2005)

Ř      Families provide the majority of care in the U.S. and studies show they want to (Kaye & Applegate, 1990.)  Without respite, caregivers’ own physical and mental health suffers.

Ř      The main sources of respite in S.C. are South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs County Boards and Community Long Term Care, both of which have long waiting lists. Other: Alzheimer’s Association (Upstate and Palmetto Chapters), Family Caregiver Support Programs, Family Connection of S.C., Inc. respite cooperatives, programs funded by the Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center, the adult care center network, assisted living facilities, a few long term care facilities, and individual providers, mostly paid for privately.

Ř       Sixty-four percent of caregivers of the elderly receiving 4 hours of respite per week after one year reported improved physical health, 78% improved their emotional health, and 50% cited improvement in the care recipient as well. Forty percent said they were less likely to institutionalize the care recipient because of respite (Theis, S.L., et al, 1994).

Ř      Caregivers experience financial strain.  Six in 10 say they spend their own money on the care recipient – average $261/mo.  In a study of caregivers of people 50+  highest spending was for care recipients needing greatest amount of care and minority caregivers were more likely to have out of pocket expenses for caregiving than whites (National Alliance for Caregiving & AARP, June 1997.)

Ř      U.S. businesses also incur high costs in terms of decreased productivity by stressed working caregivers. A recent study by MetLife estimates the loss to U.S. employers to be between $11.4 to $29 billion per year. This includes replacement costs for employees who quit because of overwhelming caregiving responsibilities, absenteeism, and workday interruptions. (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1997)



Respite = Relief
A temporary, intermittent break from caregiving that allows one to return refreshed and renewed. It can be an hour, a day, a week, a month.


Respite is the number one need identified by family caregivers no matter what the disability or age of the person needing care.


Respite is still in short supply.

Everyone must be part of the solution.


Respite is an essential service that provides family caregivers with the relief necessary to:

  1. maintain their own health

  2. prevent abuse and neglect

  3. bolster family stability

  4. keep marriages intact,


Respite is a cost-effective service.  As few as four hours each week of respite has been shown to:

  1. sustain caregivers

  2. costs only $2,080 a year (using a rate of $10 per hour)

  3. avoid or delay much more costly nursing home, foster care or other residential care.


Send mail to rachal@screspitecoalition.org with questions or comments about this website.
Last modified: 07/20/19       Webmaster: Renée A. Gibson, LMSW, CSA