We all need a break
sometimes and when caring for a loved one with intellectual or developmental
disabilities, those breaks can be few and far between. While some parents have paid
respite through waiver services or individual/family service programs, many do
not. Let’s take a look at a few options that can give you a break before you
solutions for respite
places: Imagine taking
a couple hours or days away knowing that your loved one is in the capable and
caring hands of another parent just like you. Next imagine giving the gift of
respite to another parent. By teaming up and providing respite for one another,
you both benefit. Ask around. Check with your kid’s friends from school or day
programs. Check with parents in your support network (you have a support
network, right?) Keep looking. You’ll find families in similar circumstances
eager to try shared respite.
together: Share the
cost and the care when you team up with another family to take some time away. Whether
to a local Airbnb or hotel, a change of scenery and the option to avoid
laundry, dishes and the demands at home can be refreshing. Your loved one will
be there as well as theirs, but you’ll be in it together and can support each
family and friends to gift certificates for respite: Let your well-meaning friends and
family know the best gift they can give is respite and they don’t even need to volunteer.
Many organizations that provide respite such as Easterseals and others offer
gift certificates. Find a program that will work for your loved one and refer
family and friends when they’re in the gifting mood or season.
Checkout your local college or university for students willing to provide
in-home care services for a smaller fee than more traditional respite options.
Contact career services at the school for referral to a job board. They may
even help you target those studying human services, social work, nursing,
psychology, developmental disabilities studies or other applicable degree
programs. Providing respite for your family may support their studies.
Any one of
these options will take a little time to organize and not all are viable for
employing traditional or nontraditional respite options, you may need to spend
plenty of time socializing together with your respite provider in a safe
comfortable environment (your home or theirs) before venturing out. Start small
when leaving your loved one with caregivers. Consider spending 15 or 30 minutes
alone in the car right outside and building up from there. Use social stories to
explain what will happen and prepare your loved one.
While it’s not
easy, respite is important. In a national study done by Arch Respite, respite
time has been identified by caregivers as the most desired and needed service.
Find a way. If
you’ve exhausted traditional respite options or there aren’t any available to
you, take a close look at the options above. If nontraditional options don’t
work for you, advocate for yourself and your loved one. Checkout the links to
respite resources by state included below.
Traditional Respite Resources
Time for Living and Caring: Making Respite Services Work for
respite resources by state through Arch National Respite Network
an Easterseals near you for respite supportLocate
services and support by state through Family Caregiver Alliance