Susan Haas: Give me a break: Caregivers need to accept help |

Susan Haas: Give me a break: Caregivers need to accept help

Susan Haas

Today, more than 90 million individuals in the U.S. provide care for an elderly parent, a spouse with healthcare needs, or a child with disabilities, sometimes without support, according to Caregiving Action Network.

Without support, caregivers often succumb to the overwhelming stress and exhaustion which can lead to illness and even death. Primary caregivers desperately need regular breaks from their caregiving so they can return refreshed and able to continue the selfless care of another. As part of the solution, family caregivers and those interested in receiving respite care are encouraged to contact RSVP for assistance.

We recently received REST (Respite Education and Support Tools) training. The training was provided by REST master trainers and funded by a grant obtained by the State of Nevada, Aging and Disability Services Division.

REST defines respite as temporary short-term relief for caregivers of individuals with special needs such as developmental and physical disabilities or chronic illnesses that are related to health concerns, medical fragility, or those at risk of abuse and neglect. Respite’s primary purpose is to give relief to families and caregivers from the extraordinary and intensive demands of providing ongoing care in the home. Respite strengthens the ability of families and caregivers to continue to provide care in the home. Occasional relief supports family stability and wellbeing. It allows families to help themselves, thereby reducing stress, preventing abuse and neglect, and enhancing family preservation and support.

RSVP is happy to enhance our knowledge and to have received REST training. We can now offer this great opportunity to you so you can learn more about your caregiving role and to be well prepared to care for those in need.

We will host a series of REST Companion course events and will hold a training session in Carson City on Oct. 20. This course is offered at no charge not only to RSVP volunteers, but to family caregivers, healthcare professionals, and anyone interested in learning more about being a caregiver across the lifespan.

REST is a unique interactive training program which uses a standardized curriculum that’s aligned with the National Respite Guidelines, and was developed by the ARCH (Access to Respite Care and Help) National Resource Center. C.E.U. credit is available. Training topics include: confidentiality, understanding disabilities across the lifespan, planning and adapting activities and establishing a successful relationship with the caregiver and care recipient.

Evidence supports the effectiveness of the REST program, with participants overwhelmingly responding that the training prepares them to feel confident in providing quality respite to families.

We understand how much you care for your loved one and hope to provide a volunteer to help you with your caregiving journey. Initially, some caregivers simply go into another room to read a book or to catch a nap. As the relationship grows, everyone in the care partnership flourishes. This allows caregivers to step away to exercise, grocery shop, see a doctor, or attend a support group meeting. Early intervention is key in order to avoid burnout. It’s important to form a care-partnership, with the care recipient at the center of the relationship. The family, volunteers, health care professionals and the community all work together to provide for one another as part of the partnership.

RSVP offers volunteer respite care at no charge for caregivers of adults aged 18 and older with a disability and seniors. Local volunteers who serve are background checked and well prepared for their assignments. For more information and to set up a service plan, call 775-687-4680, ext. 117. By accepting help with your caregiving journey, the life you save may be your own.

Susan Haas is Executive Director of RSVP.