The Montana Lifespan Respite (LSR) Coalition, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), hosted Montana’s 4th Lifespan Respite Summit at the Wingate Hotel in Helena on May 10, 2017. The Summit was titled: Refuel and Recharge: Coping with Compassion Fatigue. We had 69 people in attendance, which included caregivers, providers, faith-based and other state department representation. Individual caregivers were recognized for their years of service to loved ones. There was news coverage at the event and pictures may be viewed here. Many enjoyed the massage therapist, Kathy Samson as well as the Qi-Gong demonstration by Wendy Fox.
Senior and Long Term Care Division Administrator, Barbara Smith, opened the day long summit with words of support and recognition regarding the Coalition’s efforts in making a difference for our Montana caregivers throughout the lifespan.
Elaine Ryan, Vice President of State Advocacy and Strategy integration (SASI) in the Government Affairs Department of AARP was the keynote speaker. She brought her own personal caregiving experiences, stories and humor to the topic of caregiving and compassion fatigue. Some signs of compassion fatigue she offered the group were:
- losing sleep
- response to a stressful situation is more intense or angry than it should be
- feelings of isolation
- losing hope, or you feel like you are losing your own self-worth
She encouraged participants if anyone is feeling any of these signs as a caregiver to reach out to a friend, do not feel like you are alone and the only person going through this.
Elaine also gave the ABC’s of preventing compassion fatigue: Awareness, Balance, and Connection…It is important to take a step back, care for yourself, make sure to put a smile on your face and to always remember that you are not alone!
The summit included a caregiver panel which allowed some of Montana’s family caregivers to share their stories about the ups and downs of caregiving and how resources like respite play an important role in their daily responsibilities.
During the Communities in Action panel, we heard from local representatives regarding programs related to caregiver support.
- Rick Hulbert from the United Methodist Ministries Bridges program in Helena shared his vision of a caregiver education program;
- Bev Monigal, facilitator for the Big Sky Caregivers Connect support group under the Bridges program, reported her group is for all caregivers and they meet the 4th Wednesday of the month during the lunch hour at the United Methodist Church in Helena;
- Elaine Hundley, Peace Place talked about her respite program for children in Great Falls; and
- Desiree Blackburn, Program Manager of the Veterans Caregiver Support program updated us on the expansion of their program.
This panel was very inspiring and generated ideas for participants to take back to their communities.
Our group activity this year included brainstorming ideas with the participants about:
- what activities or social outlets are available in their communities that could help caregivers refuel and recharge;
- what supports or services for caregivers would they like to see in their communities; and
- who could they partner with to make it happen
A list was generated by facilitation from Tim Summers, AARP and Kandis Franklin, Children’s Health Bureau. Summit Activity list.
Thanks to all who participated in this year’s Summit! For those of you unable to attend you may view the keynote presentation and caregiver panel.
2017 Summit Evaluation Summary
Thank you AARP for sponsoring the Keynote Speaker!
The Montana Lifespan Respite (LSR) Coalition, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), hosted the Lifespan Respite Summit at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena on March 9, 2016. The Summit was titled: Riding the respite Wave: Sustaining the Momentum.
DPHHS Director Richard Opper opened the day long summit with words of support and recognition regarding the Coalition’s efforts in making a difference for our Montana caregivers throughout the lifespan.
Glen Fewkes, Senior Legislative Representative, Government Affairs Department, AARP National Office was our keynote speaker. His presentation focused on the growing importance of family caregiving across the country, why respite care is so crucial and how to best advocate for caregivers in Montana.
The Summit hosted a caregiver panel who shared their personal stories and challenges of their caregiving experiences. Finally, everyone attending participated in roundtable discussions that focused on the role of the LSR Coalition and the next steps for sustainability and making respite a priority for our state.
2016 Summit Evaluation Summary
AARP for sponsoring the Keynote Speaker and Luncheon & MTGEC for sponsoring the Caregiver Panel