FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2016
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition celebrates family caregiver month
November is National Family Caregiver Month
The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition and the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is encouraging Montanans this November to celebrate National Family Caregiver Month.
The theme this year is ‘Take Care to Give Care.’
Governor Steve Bullock recognizes the vital service caregivers provide in Montana. In fact, Bullock has increased funding in his recently announced proposed budget to further support respite care in Montana. “I admire the thousands of Montanans who find themselves in the caregiver role,” Bullock said. “They are truly remarkable and it’s so important that we take time to recognize their efforts.”
Respite is a short break for primary caregivers of people with all types of disabilities, chronic illness, physical mobility issues and developmental disabilities. Caregiving is a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding.
According to AARP Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update, Montana has nearly 118,000 family caregivers providing 110 million hours of unpaid care. If the work of these caregivers were to be paid at $12.97 per hour the total economic value of their caregiving would be valued at about $1.4 billion annually.
Caregivers provide a variety of services including everyday tasks such as cooking, feeding, bathing, transferring from a chair to a bed, and transportation to doctor appointments.
Additionally, they help with administration of complex medications and other health related interventions. Many family caregivers find their role as a caregiver provides spiritual, emotional and even physical benefits. The responsibilities and challenges can cause stress on the family caregiver, resulting in physical and emotional health risks.
“The Coalition has been working to educate caregivers of all ages about the importance of taking a break from their caregiving responsibilities,” said Kerrie Reidelbach of the DPHHS Lifespan Respite Program. In July 2015, the Coalition launched a respite voucher program to help family caregivers get the break they need. Funds are available on a sliding fee scale to make respite care affordable for all Montana caregivers.
The Coalition, in partnership with the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC), and DPHHS has created a searchable website to assist in finding available local and statewide resources throughout Montana. This website focuses on resources related to Montana seniors, adults with disabilities and respite services for all ages. The website is here: www.Montana-ADRC.com.
The ADRC Resource Directory will:
- help a family member or friend caring for a loved one in their home that may need assistance,
- help professionals who work with and advocate for people needing resources,
- help Montana communities learn more about resources available locally, and
- be helpful for a family member that lives out of state or out of town from their loved one and are trying to help them find resources they need.
“Our long-term care system is very dependent on these family caregivers, many of whom are juggling work and caregiving,” Reidelbach explained.
For more information about the Coalition go to www.respite.mt.gov.