Respite Spells RELIEF for Family Caregiver

Posted on

Nov 06, 2015

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Seniors Blue Book Article
Fall 2015 Edition
Kelle Sweeney, Education Coordinator, Friends in Action

As a caregiver, you are doing everything in your power to make sure your loved one is well cared for, and youre probably feeling the strain of your efforts: increased frustration, shortened fuse, poor sleep, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, high blood-pressure, etc. Respite can help you bring your life back into balance.

Respite is a temporary break from your caregiving responsibilities. Respite can take place in your home or in a facility. Respite can be provided by a family member, friend, paid provider, or volunteer. Friends in Action, a nonprofit dedicated to helping family caregivers, recruits and trains volunteers as part of their Legacy Corps program to provide companionship respite for veterans and military families. Legacy Corps volunteers commit to one full year of service (Nov Oct) and deliver compassionate, consistent support to caregivers on a weekly basis, allowing stressed out wives, husbands, daughters, sons, neighbors, and friends to rest and recharge. Entering the 4th year in Idaho, Legacy Corps volunteers have provided a total of 14,000 hours of relief to 191 family caregivers in the Gem State a value of over $250,000.

The Idaho Caregiver Alliance (ICA) is another organization focused on providing access to respite for caregivers across the lifespan. The ICA was formed with grant funding from National Lifespan Respite Coalition and is making great strides to ensure that family caregivers in Idaho have the tools and resources they need starting with respite. In 2015 the ICA successfully worked with state law makers to pass House Concurrent Resolution 24 which officially recognizes family caregivers as an integral part of our health system. The ICA is also testing the implementation of an Emergency Respite Program designed to offer support to caregivers when unplanned events or emergencies occur. To learn more about the Emergency Respite program please visit the Idaho Federation of Families for Childrens Mental Health website ( or call (208) 433-8845.

You can learn more about respite, caregiver resources, the Legacy Corps program, and the Idaho Caregiver Alliance at the 5th Annual Family Caregiver Conference on February 20, 2016. The Annual Family Caregiver Conference is a partnership with Boise State University to provide caregivers of adults and children with disabilities the resources they need to provide good care for their loved one while taking good care of themselves too.

For information on respite, or to learn how you can become a Legacy Corps volunteer and be a hero to a family caregiver, contact Friends in Action at (208) 333-1363.

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