Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Respite Relief

Free Help for Military & Veteran Caregivers

What could you do with the gift of time?

As someone who cares for a military or veteran spouse, child, parent, or friend, we know your days are packed with responsibilities. Would having an extra pair of hands help free you up to invest a little more time in yourself? Could you make it to that doctor’s appointment you’ve been meaning to get to, or sit in a park and read a book, catch up with a loved one, or just take a break?

Free respite care could be just what you’ve been looking for.

“I was skeptical that using respite care would actually help – I thought it might be more work than it was worth. But it was game-changing. It really was the first step for me to start taking better care of myself mentally and physically.“

– Jennifer M.,  Caregiver, FL

FREE help for military and veteran caregivers

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation has created a new program, Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers, which offers family caregivers of veterans or service members access to free, short-term relief with the help of in-home care professionals.

CareLinx provided a generous contribution to launch the first phase of this program and issued a call for others to join. AARP and other partners are responding to this call to support military and veteran caregivers during this challenging time. Thanks to a contribution from Wounded Warrior Project, the Respite Relief program is available nationwide.


Respite Relief services include:

  • meals
  • housekeeping
  • transportation
  • exercise
  • companionship
  • mobility
  • med reminders
  • toileting
  • bathing
  • grooming

Eligibility Requirement

  1. You must provide care to a wounded, ill, or injured veteran or service member (and submit proof of service).
  2. You must seek respite relief care within the 50 U.S. states.

If you’ve already applied and received respite care, thank you so much for taking the necessary steps to help you and your loved one! Our goal is to provide respite to as many families as possible.

We are currently only accepting one application per caregiver per year. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

The Respite Relief program is a no-cost service offered by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, CareLinx by Sharecare, Wounded Warrior Project, and others. The program offers 16 hours of no-cost respite care to qualifying military and veteran caregivers. Recipients can use their hours within 12 months of approval of their application. CareLinx and Wounded Warrior Project donated one million dollars each to stand up this program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to offer additional support to military and veteran caregivers.

Need more information? Watch our webinar briefing.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation R&R Review Committee consists of military and veteran spouses and family members, as well as caregivers themselves. The R&R review committee will review applications on a rolling basis and give preference to those who meet the eligibility requirements described above and have been impacted by COVID-19. The need for this service could be from loss of normal respite assistance, loss of job, or impact of COVID-19 on access and availability of services in your area. If the veteran or service member you care for has experienced extra stress due to quarantining and not being able to attend regular appointments, we encourage you to apply.

No, the service member or veteran does not have to have a disability, injury, or illness connected to their military service to be eligible for the Respite Relief program.

If you are selected for this service, you will be awarded a maximum of 16 hours from a professional caregiver from CareLinx’s network, to be used at a minimum of 4 hours per respite session. You can use your hours within 12 months of approval of your application.

Once you are notified that you have been selected for this service, EDF staff will securely transfer your information to the CareLinx team who will reach out to you and perform an assessment to match you with the right caregiver. You will then be given instructions from the CareLinx team on how to book your hours. There may be a 4-6 week gap in services depending on location.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and CareLinx teams both understand that due to the global pandemic, there are concerns about having people come in and out of your home. The professional caregiver will complete a shift symptom check prior to arriving for their shift.

We understand that many veterans may not feel comfortable having a stranger come into their home to provide these services. Through the Respite Relief program, caregivers have the option to hire someone they know. This person can be a family member, friend, or neighbor. CareLinx will take the chosen caregiver through the onboarding process, and they will be compensated for the 35 hours of respite care they provide. 

Unfortunately, the services provided by CareLinx do not cover medical or skilled home health tasks at this time. However, you can still benefit from the Respite Relief. If you or another skilled caregiver needs to provide more intensive care for your care recipient, the CareLinx provider can still provide other support services such as grocery shopping, meal prep, or light housekeeping. If you are looking for more intensive care support, we recommend reaching out to your local Veterans Affairs Hospital or Defense Health Agency facility to see if you are eligible for any type of respite or other services through those administrations.

Yes, you are welcome to apply for EDF’s respite program while receiving support from the VA or other respite resources.  

Please click on the “Take the Next Steps” Button to fill out an application to apply for this program. If you have any questions along the way, you can email [email protected].

The R&R Review Committee is reviewing applications on a rolling basis and working as quickly as possible to make their final decisions. We are hoping to communicate all decisions within 2-3 weeks of application submissions.

Respite for those who serve our nation’s injured, ill, and wounded warriors

We care about the well-being of military and veteran caregivers, and want to provide these hidden heroes with trusted support so they can take time to focus on themselves.

If you are a military or veteran caregiver, you may be eligible to receive no-cost respite care services.

Apply today to receive no-cost respite care services from CareLinx, a high-quality home care provider.

How Do I Prepare My Loved One For Respite?

Respite provides a much-needed break for both the caregiver and the care receiver. Some Veterans, however, may be hesitant because they are uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment or being with people who are considered “strangers.” Allowing someone new to help them may be outside of their comfort zone, and yours.

Check out our helpful 9 Steps to Respite Care guide to help prepare you and your loved one for receiving respite. Respite is a crucial service for you and there are ways to maximize your experience. 

Additional Information

Questions? Please email [email protected].

Join the Campaign. Support Respite Relief.

Join the movement and stand with the brave men and women offering support to our nation’s wounded, ill, and disabled veterans and service members. We’re seeking partners to increase the available pool of respite hours and help more caregivers. Partner with us to expand relief across the country. Speak with our team today.

Special thanks to CareLinx by Sharecare, Generali, and Wounded Warrior Project for joining with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to launch this program.

Thank you to our collaboration partners:

Special thanks to those who have joined the campaign: