At the Health Foundation, we remain dedicated to supporting programs that recognize the challenges and needs of caregivers and help make their lives easier, including the following new respite care opportunities for our region. By directly involving caregivers and caregiver organizations in the development of these new programs, we help ensure their voices are heard and their needs are met as effectively as possible. We partner frequently with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and others to develop innovative approaches to supporting family caregivers through respite programs — such as Exhale, the Family Caregiver Initiative.
What is Respite Care and How Does It Help?
Respite programs provide temporary relief for caregivers to help alleviate the stress of their role and responsibilities. These programs take many forms and may include arrangements that provide care and companionship at home, in a traditional setting such as an adult day center, or involve more non-traditional programming such as art and dance programs at an art gallery.
Why are these programs important? Research shows that serving as a caregiver can have a significant impact on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Family caregivers are at higher risk than non-caregivers for emotional distress, depression, anxiety, social isolation, burnout, fatigue, and other negative physical and mental health effects. In fact, a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute showed that an estimated 17-35 percent of family caregivers view their health as fair to poor.
Respite programs aim to counteract these effects by providing caregivers the opportunity to rest, take care of their own needs and address feelings of isolation and burnout.
To download our 2016 “Families Caring for an Aging America,” report, click here.
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