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 and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have joined together to create 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).

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, Wounded Warrior Project, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and AARP. The program offers 35 hours of no-cost respite care to qualifying military and veteran caregivers. 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.

If you are selected for this service, you will be awarded 35 hours of service from a professional caregiver from CareLinx’s network.

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.

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.

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? 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, 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:


If you need financial assistance this holiday season, click here to learn more about our Hope for the Holidays program and apply by December 11.