Montana Lifespan Respite 2017 Summit to be held in Helena

The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, will host Lifespan Respite Summit at the Wingate Hotel in Helena on May 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Refuel and Recharge: Coping with Compassion Fatigue” is the theme of this year’s Summit.

The goal of the Summit is to identify and address the fatigue known as compassion fatigue that Montana caregivers experience over time caring for their loved ones.

The Lifespan Respite Program supports those who care for loved ones regardless of age, disability, chronic illness or individuals at risk for abuse or neglect.

This year’s keynote speaker is Elaine Ryan, vice president of the State Advocacy and Strategy Integration, Government Affairs Department of the AARP National Office. Ryan’s presentation will begin at about 8:30 a.m. and will focus on the growing importance of family care-giving across the country, why respite care is so crucial and how to recognize and address compassion fatigue within ourselves as caregivers.

The day-long Summit will include a luncheon, caregiver panel and an opportunity to learn and network from caregivers and professionals in the field.

Montana caregivers provide 110 million hours of care at an estimated value of over $1.4 billion annually, as identified in the AARP “Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.”

“The need for respite for family caregivers continues to grow with the aging of the baby boomer generation and increased desire for home and community based services,” said Barb Smith of the DPHHS Senior and Long Term Care Division. “At the same time, respite options are limited for all family caregivers; therefore, compassion fatigue becomes more of a reality.”

The Montana Respite Voucher program, launched in July of 2015, provides needed financial support for unpaid family caregivers to get a short break from their care-giving responsibilities.

“The response has been overwhelming and reinforces the high need for this program,” Smith added.

The current federal Lifespan Respite Grant provides funding through August of 2017.

There is a registration fee for the Summit. To register for the Summit go to For more information, contact Jackie Stoeckel, Aging Services at or (406) 444-6061.



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