Lifespan Respite:

“It’s OK to need it, It’s OK to want it, It’s OK to get it


About Us

The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition has been meeting on a regular basis since August of 2011 when we were awarded our initial Lifespan Respite grant.  We currently have almost 100 members representing our Montana caregivers. 

Below is a review of the Coalition’s work by grant awards along with highlighted accomplishments.

Lifespan Respite Grants

September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017

Montana was awarded additional grant funding with the goal of improving the delivery and quality of respite services available to families across the age and disability spectrum.  Our primary goal is to create additional opportunity to expand our statewide coordinated system of easily accessible, quality and affordable lifespan respite care services and supports for Montana’s family caregivers.  The grant objectives are to:

  • Focus and expand voucher use in un-served/underserved counties and increase respite provider availability statewide
  • Enhance education and outreach efforts to best support caregivers
  • Strengthen coalition efforts to pursue/secure respite funding

September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2017

The Lifespan Respite Care Program was authorized by Congress in 2006 under Title XXIX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C 201).  Lifespan Respite Care programs are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children and adults of all ages with special needs.  The Lifespan Respite Care Program is intended to enable states to better coordinate existing respite services, identify service gaps and create and monitor new respite services.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) was awarded a 3-year grant September 1, 2014 to expand the lifespan respite infrastructure to make respite services available to all frontier and rural caregivers in Montana by establishing a statewide, coordinated system of easily accessible, quality and affordable lifespan respite care services for Montana family caregivers of individuals regardless of special needs. The Aging Services Bureau will continue to coordinate the grant with four other respite programs within DPHHS:

  • Seniors over 60 and grandparents over 55 through the Aging Services Bureau and Seniors over 60 or an adult with a physical disability through the Medicaid Waiver program in the Senior and Long Term Care Division
  • Child or an adult with a developmental disability through the Disabilities Services Division
  • Adults who have a Serious Disabling Mental Illness through the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division
  • Children in family foster care through the Child and Family Services Division

The specific goal of this grant is to enhance the newly developed infrastructure for the continued sustainable lifespan respite program in collaboration with the Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition and Montana’s Aging Disability Resource Centers (ADRC). The grant objectives are to:

  • Develop innovative Lifespan Respite service models that simplify caregiver access to respite
  • Reduce barriers that impede the efficient provision of respite
  • Increase caregiver awareness of the purpose, need for and availability of respite, allowing them to make informed decisions about obtaining respite care
  • Develop options for caregiver respite training
  • Implement the 2014 LSR sustainability, growth and succession plan that was established in the previous grant

Overview of the Initial Lifespan Respite Grant - August 1, 2011 through July 30, 2014

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) was awarded a grant to implement the Lifespan Respite program statewide. The Aging services bureau coordinated the grant with four other respite programs with DPHHS.

The process for the initial grant started in 2011 through a Lifespan Respite Summit held in March 2011 to address respite needs, gaps and to determine the current use. The participants involved non-profit providers, caregivers, government agencies and other stakeholders who in turn met to prioritize issues and needs which became the components for the initial grant.

The objectives for the grant involved:

  • Working with interested parties to develop a viable statewide Lifespan Respite Coalition
  • Assess caregiver needs for respite and increase the ability of respite providers to meet these needs using a Lifespan Respite model
  • Reduce programmatic barriers to the provision of respite through the department funded respite programs
  • Develop a statewide website with a database identifying respite providers, eligibility requirements and funding sources for respite so caregivers can access information to make informed decisions about respite care
  • Increase caregiver’s and public awareness about the need for and availability of respite

DPHHS contracted with Developmental Educational Assistance Program (DEAP) a nonprofit corporation to implement the grant. This same year a state workgroup was formed consisting of DEAP and representatives of all the Department of Public Health and Human Services that provide respite and caregivers.

Focus groups and surveys were completed to assist in establishing a strategic plan. In 2013, the workgroup merged with the Montana Lifespan Coalition which consisted of non-profit providers, caregivers, and other respite providers across the state. The group met approximately every other month.

Four committees were also created as a result of this merger and to implement the stated objectives and strategic plan. These included the Caregiver Education and Training Committee, Respite Responders Committee, Website Committee and Executive Committee.  Highlighted accomplishments during this grant period included:


  • Development of the Big Sky Caregivers Connect support group in partnership with the United Methodist Ministries Bridges program in Helena – January 2017
  • A visit to the Northern Cheyenne reservation to meet with agencies to promote Lifespan Respite – February 2017
  • Coalition members conducted email campaigns to legislators to advocate for Lifespan respite funding in the Governor’s budget – February 2017
  • Work began on adding a caregiver blog to our Facebook page – February 2017
  • Lifespan Respite Summit focusing on compassion Fatigue – May 2017


  • Lifespan Respite Summit focusing on sustainability - March 2016
  • Awarded Lifespan Respite one-year Expansion Grant - September 2016
  • Voucher utilization map by county - added to website
  • New Committee added to develop caregiver support group in Helena – October 2016
  • Four scholarships awarded for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class Leader Training – October 2016
  • Recognition letter for November as “Family Caregivers Month” signed by Governor Bullock – October 2016
  • Contracted with the Montana Broadcasters Association to publicize Voucher PSA via radio and television – November 2016
  • News Release for National Family Caregiver Month titled:  Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition celebrates family caregiver month – November 2016
  • Radio show with Cherry Creek Radio – December 2016


  • Partnered with the Governor’s Conference on Aging and the Montana Gerontology Society to host the Lifespan Respite Summit, co-sponsored with ARCH (Jill Kagan attended as a keynote speaker to kick off the Summit) and a Lifespan Respite track at the May conference
  • Created an application process and all the necessary paperwork for a respite voucher program
  • Developed a Montana Lifespan Respite Voucher Program brochure
  • Launching the Respite Voucher Program beginning July 1st
  • Developed two PSAs, one focuses on the respite voucher program and the other focuses on Powerful Tools for Caregivers
  • Contracted with the Montana Broadcasters Association to publicize PSAs statewide via radio and television
  • Two Aging Horizons TV interviews, one  focused on grant overview, Powerful Tools for Caregivers and promotion of the Summit and the other focused on Lifespan Respite, the voucher program and the upcoming Summit focusing on sustainability
  • Thirteen scholarships awarded for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers - Class Leader Training


  • Developed branding logo and tagline:  “It’s OK to need it, It’s OK to want it, It’s OK to get it”
  • Distribution of provider registry forms for Website data collection
  • Developed a PSA and Video that focuses on Lifespan Respite
  • Developed Lifespan Respite Program Brochure
  • LSR sustainability, growth and succession plan
  • Launching of the Lifespan Respite Website (
  • Four scholarships awarded for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers - Class Leader Training


  • Developed a strategic plan that prioritized and addressed the identified barriers and issues
  • Began initial development and design of the state website to include frequently asked questions, caregiver resources and identification of respite providers
  • Developed a provider application in collaboration with ADRC providers
  • Developed a PowerPoint training Module for ADRC and 211 phone responders


  • Caregiver focus groups in four regions of the state
  • Identified agency based respite providers
  • Distributed caregiver and provider surveys
  • Aging Horizon TV interview and broadcast focusing on Lifespan Respite
  • Completed an Environmental Scan