Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Respite Care?
Respite care, whether on a planned or emergency basis, is simply a break from caregiving. Respite is designed to serve caregivers and families who are caring for people with disabilities or other special needs such as chronic or terminal illnesses; or are at risk of abuse and neglect. The respite can be in the home of the care receiver, or in an alternate setting.

2. Does RCAW provide respite services?
No, RCAW is a “resource and referral” agency, we do not provide any direct care services. We can, however, assist you in locating a respite service in your area –either search the Wisconsin Respite Registry on this website, give us a call at 608-222-2033 or email us

3. Can RCAW provide money for respite care?
Unfortunately we do not have the funds for respite consumers. We do work closely with several local and state agencies across Wisconsin and will be happy to work with you in making these connections. Email us at for more information.

4. I am a long-distance caregiver for my elderly parents living in Wisconsin, what services are available to help me and them?
The challenges associated with long-distance caregiving are unique. Several agencies and organizations provide information and service, including the Wisconsin Association of Area Agencies on Aging , Eldercare LocatorAARP Long-Distance Caregiving Tips.  We’d also be happy to talk with you.

5. Does RCAW distribute grants?
The State of Wisconsin designated RCAW as the managing agency for five pilot projects across the state. All respite funds are disseminated via these projects. RCAW does not have any grants available at this time.

6. Is respite care covered under Medicaid or Medicare?
Federal programs (like Medicaid and Medicare) that are managed at the state level have complex rules and eligibility requirements.. Rules and regulations vary by state and often by county.

In order to get the best guidance possible, contact your county human services agency or local Aging and Disability Resource Center. Click to Find the ADRC in your area

7. I have a child with very special needs and I feel stressed, exhausted and angry – I am afraid I may snap. Should I use respite?
Caring for anyone with special needs, let alone your child, is a hard job. Respite care can let you step away even for just a few hours. Here are a few ideas as to how respite can help you to decompress:

  • a respite provider can come to your home – you can take a nap, cook a meal, read a book by yourself
  • use the time for your healthcare or dental appointments – taking care of your own health is extremely important, too.
  • your child may benefit from socialization – respite services are often provided in group settings.

Think of respite as a way to “count to ten”

8. How can I find respite care in my community?
Call us at 608-222-2033 or email. We will help you identify options in available in your community.

9. Do I have to pay taxes for my respite care provider?
Tax laws are extremely complicated and because your case may be special, these questions are best explored between you and your tax or legal counsel.

Respite Care Association of Wisconsin