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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Overview and Types of Respite

December 2019 | Ann Garcia and Grace O'Connor - Patient Advocates, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Respite care is short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be used for as short as a few hours to as long as several weeks. Respite care can be provided in a variety of settings including the individual's home, an adult day care center, or residential facility. There are different types of respite which are described below. A list of organizations and providers that offer respite services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Illinois can be found in our Resource Library at this link

Please note: Some of this information is specific to the greater Chicagoland area and/or Illinois. If you are looking for information for a different region, we recommend reaching out to a local Down syndrome parent organization or reviewing the resources provided on the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center website ( 

In-Home Respite
Agencies which offer in-home respite services generally provide funding for a certain number of respite hours per year. Some agencies may provide the respite workers or provide families with the names of approved respite workers. If families select a respite worker on their own, the worker may need to go through the agency's screening/training process. Care is usually provided in the individual's home. 
Residential Respite
Agencies which offer residential respite accept the individual requiring care for a short-term stay in one of the facilities run by the agency. The facility's medical and direct support staff temporarily care for the individual to allow the primary caregiver time to attend to their own needs and responsibilities. Families usually need to complete an application. The cost of the stay is covered by a state respite grant. 
Group Respite
Agencies which offer group respite provided scheduled programming for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Programming may include music and art classes and/or time to socialize with others in a supervised and safe environment. 
Respite Voucher Program
Families can apply for a respite voucher at one of the agencies offering voucher respite. The grant can be used to pay for a respite worker or pay for an activity for the individual, such as a park district program. 
Emergency Respite
Emergency respite grants are available from the Illinois Respite Coalition. Families may qualify for emergency respite if caregivers are at risk of losing their employment or home, if the family is facing an unexpected event (such as a funeral) or family emergency, or if a primary caregiver is ill, hospitalized, or has passed away. 
*Please note:
  • These respite programs are intended for families in which the individual with an intellectual or developmental disability is not receiving state-funded residential services. 
  • Individuals with a Home and Community-Based Service waiver or Home-Based Support Services are eligible for Residential Respite only (not for the other state-funded respite programs). 

Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

View Resource Library


Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.